Shoplifting may not be a new crime, but it has been making the headlines lately. Whether the news outlets are overblowing this supposed “crime wave” or not, there’s no denying that shoplifting is illegal in all U.S. states.
Florida is no exception; there are grave consequences for anyone convicted of the offense in the state.
Defining shoplifting in Florida
The offense of shoplifting is legally known in the state as retail theft. While the law defines retail theft as taking merchandise from a store without paying its full price, it’s not limited to actions such as taking an unpaid item out of the store. Using antishoplifting devices such as booster bags, concealing merchandise on your person, altering price tags and transferring the contents of merchandise from one container to another are also considered shoplifting by law.
Penalties for shoplifting
If a court convicts a person of shoplifting, the penalties are the same as those for simple theft. However, Florida has enhanced penalties for those committing petit theft from a merchant for a second or subsequent time:
Petit theft: If the value of the stolen goods is less than $300, it’s a petit theft offense.
- First degree: Stolen property valued between $100 and $300 can lead to up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Second degree: For property valued at less than $100, the penalty can be up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- Second or subsequent petit theft from a merchant offense: Up to $1,000 in fines or the convicted person has to render public services designated by the court.
Grand theft: If the stolen property is worth more than $300, the offense is grand theft. Even the lowest criminal grade of grand theft – third degree – is a felony offense punishable by up to five years of prison and $5,000 in fines.
In summary, shoplifting in Florida is a serious crime with lasting repercussions. Whether you’re a Florida resident or a visitor, respecting the law and understanding the potential consequences of shoplifting is important. Always consider the long-term impact of your actions and seek legal advice if necessary.