Shoplifting rates spike during the holiday season. It’s something that store employees and police officers are well aware of and know to look out for. Under increased scrutiny, more arrests are made for shoplifting and more people are sent to jail around the holidays. With Christmas coming up, it’s important to know what the consequences are for shoplifting and what the options are if you or a loved one land in jail for shoplifting.
Some people see shoplifting as a minor crime that rarely results in any real consequences. However, an estimated $50 billion is lost in U.S. retail inventory per year. It’s a problem that retailers don’t think of as a minor crime and your state’s laws have been written to reflect that. Increased security in recent years has led to more shoplifting arrests than ever. Don’t become a statistic if you can help it. Understand the consequences as they affect you as a Florida resident.
In Florida, shoplifting is known as retail theft. This can include stealing merchandise, property, money, removing shopping carts from business premises, and altering price tags. All of these crimes are prosecuted based on the value of the stolen item and whether you have a prior criminal record of theft-related offenses. If you or someone you know is convicted of retail theft in Florida, the penalties can include monetary fines, jail or prison time, and even the suspension of your driver’s license.
Depending on the value of the stolen item, you can be charged with petit (petty) or grand theft.
The penalties in Florida for the different levels of shoplifting can be found in the following:
Retail theft penalties under $100 can include:
- You can be charged with petit (petty) theft in the second degree. Second degree misdemeanors can result in up to 60 days in jail and/or $500 fine.
- Previous theft-related convictions can upgrade from a second-degree misdemeanor charge to a first-degree misdemeanor charge or a third-degree felony charge.
Retail theft penalties between $101 and $300 can include:
- You can be charged with petit theft in the first-degree. First degree can result in up to one year in county jail, one year of probation, and/or a $1,000 fine.
- Additionally, Florida residents can have their driver’s license suspended for up to six months for a first offense and up to a year for multiple offenses.
Retail theft penalties between $301 and $5,000 can include:
- You can be charged with grand theft in the third degree. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in state prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
If you or a loved one has been put in jail for retail theft in Florida, a lawyer is needed to work out the defendant’s best options. To build the best possible case, the defendant needs to be out of jail in order to both regularly communicate with their lawyer and to show that they aren’t going to repeat the same crime while free. This is where Mercy Bail Bonds can help. For a fast and easy bail bond process, call (727) 856-7775.