Shoplifting in Florida: What is the Law?

Florida does not have a specific statute about shoplifting; these offenses are prosecuted under theft law (Section 812.014 of the Florida statutes). If you or a loved one has been arrested for shoplifting in the state of Florida, it is important to understand the applicable laws for this crime. 

First Time Offenders

Most first-time offenders charged with shoplifting will be charged with petit theft second-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to 60 days in jail. For second offenses, the result can be in the first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in county jail, one year of probation, and/or a $1,000 fine. 

This, however, depends on the specifics of your case and the value of goods that you allegedly stole. Contact Stechschulte Nell Florida criminal defense attorneys to defend your theft charge. We’re available 24/7 – call 813-280-1244 now. 

The Value of Stolen Goods

Under Florida law, theft is divided into two categories – grand theft and petit (petty) theft. Whether a theft/shoplifting charge is prosecuted as grand theft or petit theft depends on the value of the stolen goods.  

Most shoplifting charges fall under the category of petit theft. These are the current theft penalties in Florida: 

  • Unspecified property worth $100 or less is petit theft and a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines. 
  • Property worth between $100 and $750 is petit theft and a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.  
  • Property worth between $750 and $20,000 is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.  
  • Other grand theft charges can carry up to 30 years in prison, however, this rarely applies to shoplifting charges.  

Related > Changes to the Felony Theft Threshold 

Can the Store Drop the Charges?

Retail stores like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, don’t simply drop their shoplifting charges without going to court. In fact, they tend to be strict with shoplifting policies to prevent future theft. Virtually all of the ‘big-box’/retail stores have a strict prosecution policy for shoplifting and theft crimes. Once the store calls the police, the subsequent investigation and prosecution will be turned over to the city the store is in, or the state of Florida.  

Attorney Ben Stechschulte is experienced in theft defense. Our mission is to mitigate your risk should your case go to trial. Call now or email for a case review.  

Defending a Shoplifting Theft Charge

There are several defense strategies when it comes to shoplifting arrests. We could argue it was a complete misunderstanding such as swapped sales tags on an item or an item that ended up in your bag without your knowledge. Perhaps your child took something or you simply forgot the item was there. It happens.  

Charged with Shoplifting?

We can help you prepare your best defense against shoplifting or theft arrests. A skilled criminal defense attorney will mitigate your risk should your case go to trial. For more information on our South Tampa criminal defense law firm or to schedule a free case review, please call Stechschulte Nell today at 813-280-1244.

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