Shoplifting / Retail Theft
Shoplifting for many seems like such an innocent crime, especially when compared to more life-threatening offenses like assault or DUI in Florida. In fact, for the people most commonly arrested for this offense, such as juveniles and bored, usually-upstanding adults this is the appeal: to do something dangerous without having to worry about serious consequences. However, this perception that shoplifting has few or no significant consequences is a false one.
While some shoplifting offenses are misdemeanors, others are felonies – and the consequences for both can have life-long effects on your future and success. No matter if you were arrested for shoplifting due to a mistake on your part, a misunderstanding by the officer, or something serious like an addiction, it is important to use the best defense possible in fighting your case. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney in Brooksville can fight to have your shoplifting case in Hernando County or the surrounding areas reduced or dismissed, as well as work to protect your rights in the process.
Brooksville Shoplifting Defense Attorney
Shoplifting may seem like a harmless and inconsequential offense, but in reality, a conviction for petit theft or retail theft will result in serious penalties. If you have been arrested for shoplifting in Brooksville, Spring Hill, North Weeki Wachee, High Point, Hernando Beach, Hill 'n Dale, Inverness Highlands, Sugarmill Woods, Lecanto, Wildwood, Lake Panasoffkee, Bushnell, or the surrounding areas, contact experienced Hernando County property crime defense lawyer Ashley Aulls.
Inspired to serve clients like you by a family history of successful legal professionals and backed by over 15 years of experience, Ashley Aulls knows what it takes to construct a comprehensive, customized defense to your Brooksville area retail theft charges. Additionally, he is passionate about making sure there is open communication with his clients, and that they are educated on their charges. To find out more about what Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. can do for your Hernando County shoplifting charges, call (352) 593-4115 today and schedule your initial case consultation.
Shoplifting and Retail Theft Defined in Florida
Under Florida Law, shoplifting can be known either as petit theft or retail theft, depending on the circumstances of your case. Petit theft is defined by Fla. Stat. § 812.014 as when a person commits theft of property that has a value of between $100 and $300. Theft is the act of knowingly obtaining, using, or striving to obtain or use the property of another with the intent of depriving that person of the property and/or attributing the use of the property to someone who is not privileged to do so. Petit theft can be charged when the property was taken either temporarily or permanently.
Retail theft is defined by Stat. § 812.015(d) as the taking possession or carrying away of merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; the alteration or removal of a label, universal product code (UPC), or price tag; the transfer of merchandise from one container to another; or the removal of a shopping cart – all with the intent to deprive the merchant of the item's possession, use, benefit, or full retail value. You may be charged with retail theft if the item you allegedly shoplifted was valued at $300 or more and one of the following circumstances was present:
- You individually, or in coordination with one or more other persons, coordinated the activities of one or more individuals committing the offense
- You committed retail theft from more than one location in a 48-hour timeframe
- You worked with one or more individuals in the store to distract necessary personnel in order to commit the theft
- You committed the offense by purchasing the merchandise in the wrong box or by adding additional merchandise to a box with the appropriate merchandise already in it.
The distinction between these two charges when you are accused of shoplifting is important, because the difference in penalties is significant. An experienced Hernando County criminal defense lawyer can help you determine whether your shoplifting charge qualifies as petit theft or retail theft, as well as fight to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Penalties for Retail Theft and Shoplifting in Hernando County
What penalties you face for shoplifting in Brooksville, Spring Hill, or the surrounding areas in Hernando County vary greatly on which charge you face as a result of your alleged actions. Generally, petit theft is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to a year in jail. Petit theft for shoplifting can also at times be a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. Shoplifting as retail theft is a much more punitive offense than petit theft, as it is considered a felony.
When you are charged with shoplifting as retail theft, and the value of the property allegedly stolen is $300 to $3,000, you are facing a third-degree felony charge. In Florida, a third-degree felony is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or up to five years in prison. Any retail theft charge where the value is in excess of $3,000 is considered a second-degree felony, which comes with a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Additionally, felonies in Florida come with other life-altering sanctions upon conviction. These include the inability to pursue certain educational and professional opportunities, and the loss of certain civil rights, like the right to own a gun. However, just because you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense does not mean you will or should be convicted. Working with an experienced Brooksville criminal attorney may increase your chances at a charge reduction or dismissal, or another favorable outcome like a not guilty verdict.
Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. | Shoplifting or Retail Theft Criminal Defense Lawyer in Hernando County
If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, whether your charge is for petit theft or retail theft, in the Brooksville area, including Hernando County, Citrus County, and Sumter County, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls. With over 15 years of experience defending clients like you, Ashley Aulls knows what it takes to defeat a retail theft, petit theft, or other shoplifting theft in court. Call (352) 593-4115 today and schedule a consultation.