If you are caught shoplifting in Florida you will face serious criminal penalties, which may include fines and time in jail. Additionally, shoplifters are often sued for damages in civil court by the victimized merchants.
Laws Related to Shoplifting in Florida
In Florida, shoplifting is called retail theft. The theft can occur in several ways, which include:
- Taking items or carrying away from a merchant
- Transferring items from one container to a different one or removing a cart
- Altering price tags or labels
- The intent to take away the ability a merchant has for full retail value, benefit, use or possession of an item
Any merchant who has probable cause that a person has committed an act of shoplifting can legally detain the individual in a reasonable way for a reasonable period of time to prosecute the suspect or retrieve the goods. The civil and criminal penalties for shoplifting can be found here.
Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting in Florida
The following penalties apply when you are caught shoplifting in Florida:
- Shoplifting property with a value under $100: It is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties include up to $500 in fines, up to 60 days in jail.
- Shoplifting property with a value of more than $100 but under $300: Considered a first-degree misdemeanor and carries up to 12 months in jail and possible fines of up to $1,000.
- Second or subsequent conviction of shoplifting: this is considered a first or second-degree misdemeanor. This offense carries penalties of two months to one year in jail, and a fine of between $50 and $1,000.
- Shoplifting property with a value of over $300 and under $20,000: This is a third-degree felony with up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
- Shoplifting property worth $20,000 to $100,000: A second-degree felony and carriers up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Shoplifting property with a value of over $100,000: First degree grand theft with up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Civil Penalties for Shoplifting in Florida
A merchant can sue emancipated minor shoplifters or adults (or the legal guardians or parents of unemancipated minors) in civil court to receive:
- Up to three times the damages sustained with a minimum of $200
- All reasonable attorney’s fees
- Court costs
A written demand has to be made by the merchant, and if the shoplifter responds to this and pays the damages within a period of 30 days they will be released from any liability.
If you are arrested for shoplifting in Florida, you should consult a criminal defense attorney for help. They can review your case and help gather potential evidence to prove your innocence, as well as ensure your rights are protected. To learn more, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Paul J. Donnelly, P.A. by calling 305-757-3331. Being informed and having someone protecting your rights can be invaluable when facing any criminal charges in the state of Florida.