Stealing from stores hurts their bottom line. Left unchecked, shoplifting can lead to a store closing its doors. Large chain stores like Walmart, Home Depot Publix, or small local businesses catering to their neighborhoods are equally susceptible to shoplifting losses. Even “dollar stores” are experiencing increases in thefts.
US businesses lose roughly $50 billion yearly to theft. The annual National Retail Security Survey from the National Retail Federation reports that more than 36% of this figure is from shoplifting. In 2019, those losses topped $61.7 billion.
The city of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County law enforcement have become more vigilant about shoplifting by arresting and prosecuting shoplifters.
Penalties For Retail Theft In Florida
Florida Statute § 812.015(1)(d), calls shoplifting “retail theft” and define this offense as “…the taking possession of or carrying away of merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; altering or removing a label, universal product code [UPC], or price tag; transferring merchandise from one container to another; or removing a shopping cart, with intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value.”
The charge depends on the value of the stolen items. Recent changes in Florida’s laws streamline prosecution and lower the threshold for retail theft charges.
- Petit (petty) Theft—stolen merchandise is valued at $750 or less. This can be a first or second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000, or both.
- Grand Theft—stolen merchandise is valued at $750 or more. This can be charged as a felony, with punishments of up to 30 years in prison. The sentencing is based on the value of the property taken & Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code guidelines. Anything over $100,000 is a first-degree felony with a $10,000 and up to 30 years.
A conviction for retail theft includes consequences beyond jail time or fines. A criminal record or conviction often impacts your ability to find or keep employment, find housing or qualify for a mortgage loan, or be accepted into an educational institution. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to work with a good criminal defense attorney like Adam Farkas and Jacqueline Crowley to protect your rights.
Defense Against Shoplifting Charges
You can be arrested, charged, and face fines and jail time for taking property at either misdemeanor or felony levels. If you’ve been caught shoplifting, you’ll likely be facing some stiff consequences. It is important to wait and talk with an attorney. Remember that you have the right to request an attorney instead of answering questions. A good criminal defense attorney should protect your rights and eventually defend you against the allegations.
At the law firm of Farkas & Crowley, we build your defense by investigating the incident, including reviewing the police report. And we will employ an appropriate and rigorous defense. We will look at possible defenses such as:
- Defective self-checkout machine that incorrectly or failed to scan something
- No intent to steal, the item was mistakenly taken
- The item was accidentally concealed
- Insufficient evidence: an eyewitness misidentified the shoplifter, or store personnel misidentify someone from surveillance video
- An unreasonable search, violating your Fourth Amendment rights
The prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that someone intentionally took something from a retail store without paying. Even before the case gets scheduled for trial, we will be negotiating with prosecutors to show the weaknesses of their case, appeal for a lesser sentence or dismissal of charges, in other words, use our ability to work out the best possible outcome against such charges.
Shoplifting Defense Attorney In West Palm Beach
Shoplifting in the West Palm Beach area is not a crime you want to be convicted of, if possible. Contact criminal defense attorneys Adam R. Farkas and Jacqueline D. Crowley for your case. We have the background and experience to provide you with strong legal representation.
We have defended hundreds of clients over our many years of experience. We offer aggressive criminal defense for an array of offenses and can help you too, when you are facing serious charges. We are ready to put our expertise to work and help you with your case. Call us today at (561)-444-9529 or online to schedule your free consultation appointment.