To some, shoplifting is a crime perpetrated by the young; teenagers who take shoes or a pair of expensive jeans to get the thrill of breaking the law and trying to get away with it. However, the younger crowd is not the only age group to steal a store item. Although for different reasons, adults may also use five-finger discounts.
Sometimes, charges from shoplifting may only net a misdemeanor, but as the price of the items increases, so do the penalties. The seriousness of the crime and the background of the shoplifter may determine the defense options available.
Florida state statute uses the term retail theft and defines it as:
- Taking possession or carrying away merchandise
- Altering or removing a label
- Putting merchandise into a different container
- Taking a shopping cart to deny the merchant of total retail value
Anyone who uses an anti-shoplifting or inventory control countermeasure in the process of a crime may receive more severe charges.
Shoplifting charges range from misdemeanors to felonies. To clear a person’s name from these charges, an attorney may use the following defenses:
- Lack of intent
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of evidence
With more stores using self-checkouts, an individual may mistakenly place an item in the bag without scanning, or the scanning device did not work correctly and did not add the item to the total.
A young person or adult with no criminal history may receive a lesser punishment, but their future may be in jeopardy when applying for colleges or jobs. Realizing the extent to which a shoplifting charge can affect someone may keep the person from committing the crime.