Arrested for Shoplifting
Shoplifting is a criminal charge that results when a person is accused of stealing or attempting to steal from a store. The offense often happens when a person walks out of a store without paying for an item.
Shoplifting also occurs by changing a price tag to get a lower price, leaving a restaurant without paying a bill or eating food in a grocery store without paying for it. Whatever the reason, the first thing to do if you have been arrested for shoplifting is to hire an attorney or enlist the help of another legal professional.
The severity of a shoplifting charge largely depends on the total value of the stolen goods and whether there is a prior record, especially for shoplifting. Typically, shoplifting is a lower-level criminal charge, but it can carry other serious consequences. Try to find an attorney who will fight to get the charge dismissed or reduced. A criminal record that includes shoplifting might limit your options for obtaining employment, credit or a college education.
If you are arrested for shoplifting, a dismissal is ideal. Pleading guilty to a shoplifting charge can place the shoplifting conviction on your permanent criminal record. If a dismissal is not an option, your attorney might attempt to get the shoplifting charge reduced to a lesser charge. Be prepared to pay any related court fines and attorney’s fees. Some stores might also require restitution for the stolen items.
Age is another factor. Youths arrested for shoplifting might receive a warning or a reduced sentence if there is no prior record. On the other hand, a youth might be required to perform community service or attend a rehabilitation program such as a boot camp. In some cases, shoplifting arrest records for youths might be sealed, meaning that members of the general public will not be able to access the record. That way, the charge does not have a lifelong impact by creating a criminal record.
You might wish to consider counseling if you are arrested for shoplifting. In some cases, shoplifting begins as a bad habit and grows into an addiction or compulsion. If shoplifting is an ongoing or longstanding problem, professional counseling could help. A professional counselor can help uncover the reasons why you are shoplifting. Some of the underlying reasons for shoplifting might include being bored, being depressed or doing it just to try to get away with it.
West Palm Beach Petty and Grand Theft Defense Attorney
In Florida, the seriousness of a theft charge depends upon the amount taken. Theft of $300 or less is misdemeanor petty theft, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Theft or embezzlement of more than $300 is grand theft, a felony that may be subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three or more years.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we take a proactive approach in defending clients who have been charged with theft. Even a conviction for petty theft can be very detrimental to your future. A misdemeanor shoplifting conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. In addition, one petty theft conviction will build on another, and your third offense will be charged as a felony.
Civil Penalties in Shoplifting Cases
Florida has a civil statute allowing stores to collect triple damages from people caught shoplifting. If you have been arrested for shoplifting from one of the major department stores, you may receive a letter from a law firm demanding payment to resolve the store’s civil case. If you receive such a letter, you should bring it to a lawyer immediately. Do not pay the amount requested because that could be used as an admission in your criminal case. As your lawyer, we will draft a response to the letter protecting your rights and will resolve the civil case after the conclusion of your criminal case.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español