Jacksonville Shoplifting Defense Attorney
Protect Your Rights. Trust The Law Offices of Kate Mesic.
Petit theft most times is associated with retail theft. Florida Statute 812.014 defines petit theft as knowingly obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently, deprive the person of the property. Please note that the language points out that even temporarily taking someone else’s property can be considered a theft offense in Florida.
|Amount Stolen or Property Value||Level of Offense||Maximum FL Penalties|
|Less than $100.00||2nd degree petit theft||60 days in jail / $500.00 fine|
|Between $100.00 – $299.00 or prior conviction||1st degree petit theft||1 year / $1000.00 fine|
|2 prior convictions||Will likely be charged as 3rd degree felony||5 years / $5,000 fine|
Although shoplifting is sometimes labeled as a minor offense, it is a crime. If convicted, you will have a criminal record. Each and every criminal charge should be taken seriously. Please call The Law Offices of Kate Mesic for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been arrested or received a Notice to Appear for petit theft or shoplifting.
How Can Our Attorneys Help You?
A Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your petit theft case and what evidence exists against you. Evidence in a petit theft case a lot of times includes video from the store, testimony from an employee of the business/store where the theft allegedly took place, testimony from any witnesses, any statements or admission made by the defendant to the police or other witnesses.
This information would be obtained through the process of discovery, where the State Attorney’s Offices has to disclose what evidence they intent to use against you. A prosecutor must prove the petit theft charge beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you at trial – meaning proving that the person stole the property with the intent to steal.
When a person is charged with a petit theft or shoplifting, if a complete dismissal is not possible, a criminal defense attorney can explore options that maybe possible (other than jail) such as:
- Counseling – take a court ordered class
- Withholding of adjudication – not a conviction
- Diversion program – PTI
- Restitution in the amount of the stolen property to the store
- Community service
Other consequences of a petit theft conviction may include:
- A suspension of your driver license
- Loss of academic scholarship
- Loss of trust by people around you
Most of these cases come up in stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Sometimes people are charged with petit theft and they did not intend to steal anything, such as when they forgot about an item in the cart. All the details of a criminal case are important to the Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer; make sure you tell your lawyer every little detail.
4 Tips to Keep in Mind When Charged with Petit Theft in Florida
*These tips apply to other criminal offenses as well.
- Stay calm and be polite: Arguing with the police will not get you far, you can be firm in your position, but not rude. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire by getting another charge of resisting arrest added. Additionally, in most cases, the police will just give the person a Notice to Appear, but if you resist, they will take you to jail. If you think your right are being violated in some way, make sure to get the names and badge numbers of all police officers involved.
- Get help! Hire a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer: it is never a good idea to represent yourself in a criminal case. You may think you are getting a good deal, but you may not realize all the consequences.
- Be part of the defense team: Talk to your criminal lawyer about the strong and weak points in your case. Discuss the evidence against you.
- While in court: when you come to court, dress nice. This means no shorts or sneakers. For the ladies no short skirts. Wear something that you would wear to church or a job interview. Always be polite and respectful.
Facing criminal charges for theft in Florida can be scary and overwhelming. Please remember you don’t have to go through this process alone. Call our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys at (904) 615-8950 for your free consultation.