You may not have set out to commit a crime, but on your way out of the store, you find that you did. When security nabs you with something you did not pay for, whether intentional or accidental, it may spell trouble.
Theft laws in Florida statutes spell out what qualifies as stealing and what conviction repercussions may occur. Take some time to familiarize yourself with these laws so that you know what you may face should the above scenario occur.
Shoplifting crime defined by state law
Shoplifting is the theft of retail items. An offender may commit retail theft by carrying, hiding or outright taking merchandise that is not paid for from the premises of a store or shop. Taking off a security tag or UPC or changing it so that a cashier charges less for an item is also dealt with under the shoplifting statute. Stealing a shopping cart may also qualify under retail theft laws.
The court may charge petty theft or grand theft
In general, theft charges come in a couple of different forms. What the court charges an offender with depends on how much the property in question is worth. Petit theft, also known as petty theft, is the least severe. It deals with merchandise under $300. First-degree petit theft deals with items worth less than $100. Second-degree charges come on the heels of merchandise totaling between $100 and $300. The punishment for a petty theft conviction at either degree depends on prior convictions.
A court charges grand theft for items stolen that have a value between $301 and $5,000. The merchandise stolen is typically higher dollar, such as designer clothes and jewelry. Unlike petit theft, grand theft is a third-degree felony that carries a possible five-year state prison sentence.
Finding yourself charged with shoplifting may result in trouble for other areas of your life. If you are in this situation, you may want to engage the services of an attorney who may guide you through the process.