Being convicted of a shoplifting in Mount Dora carries serious consequences. Even if the item you were accused of stealing is valued under $100, you potentially face incarceration and monetary fines upon conviction. Additionally, even misdemeanor charges can create permanent records that damage your reputation and cause problems later in life.
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, an experienced Mount Dora shoplifting lawyer from Largey Law Firm can provide several services aimed at protecting your rights and eliminating the conviction or reducing the consequences of your case. With more than twenty years of experience, our skilled theft attorneys pride themselves on providing aggressive defense strategies to those who have been charged with shoplifting. We are also pleased to personalized services and clear, consistent updates to our clients.
Shoplifting Definitions and Penalties
Shoplifting — referred to in Florida State Statute 812.015 as “retail theft” — involves the following.
- Taking merchandise or other valuable items from a business without paying
- Altering or removing a price tag or bar code to obtain property for less than its full value
- Transferring merchandise from one container to another to avoid paying for it
- Removing a shopping cart from a premises, with intent to deprive the merchant of the benefit of its use
The penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the item stolen. Petit theft, which is a second-degree misdemeanor involving the retail theft of items valued at $100 or less, is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines for first-time offenders. For second shoplifting offenses, a defendant risks being charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Anyone with two or more prior shoplifting convictions can be charged with a felony, which will appear on their permanent criminal record.
Retail theft of items valued between $101 and $300 is considered petit theft. This charge carries penalties of up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines, as well as one year probation. Additionally, first-time offenders face a driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months, while those who have previous shoplifting convictions stand to lose their license for up to a year.
If an item is valued at more than $300, the charge is grand theft, a third-degree felony that carries consequences of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. A diligent Mount Dora attorney could further explain these potential penalties and pinpoint the best strategy for minimizing the consequences of a shoplifting charge.
What to Do After Being Charged with Shoplifting
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting in Mount Dora, one of the most important things to do is contact an attorney who can protect your rights during the investigation, explore your legal options, and begin developing a sound strategy against the charge. It is important to remember that you can have an attorney present for questioning; you simply must request one.
In addition to determining a strategy based on the evidence and details of the case, your attorney will also look at the details of the investigation and the arrest to ensure that your rights were upheld during the process. This includes determining that law enforcement or a store’s security personnel adhered to protocol when you were questioned about the crime and placed into custody. Many times, charges will be dismissed if evidence of a crime was gained through improper or illegal measures.
What Are Some More Specific Defense Strategies?
There are a few key ways that a legal representative might contest a theft charge, including but not limited to arguing that:
- Law enforcement have mistaken the defendant’s identity
- The defendant in question took something out of a store by accident
- A defendant unintentionally concealed something they intended to pay fors
The right strategy for a case depends on the circumstances, and a detail-oriented legal representative could chart the best path forward.
Call a Mount Dora Shoplifting Attorney about Your Case
Contrary to the popular belief that shoplifting is a minor crime, being convicted can result in expenses, incarceration, and even the loss of your ability to drive. Even misdemeanors will show up on some types of background checks that can prevent you from getting into college, obtaining employment, or securing housing.
A Mount Dora shoplifting lawyer at Largey Law is prepared to defend you from charges and protect your future from the impact of a criminal record. Our firm was founded by public defenders who believe that everyone has a right to be treated fairly in the legal arena. We offer a free consultation, which means you can get answers to the legal questions you have about your case without obligation for future services. For more information, contact us today.