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Is a Florida shoplifting offense a misdemeanor crime?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Shoplifting is often an impulse crime. An individual goes to a business and sees something small and attractive, and they exit the store without paying for that item. People shoplift items ranging from candy bars and makeup to eyeglasses and expensive jewelry. Even some adults who follow the law could end up accused of shoplifting if they seem to hide or alter items in the store.

The average person probably expects a slap on the wrist if they get accused of shoplifting in Florida. Occasionally, prosecutors file relatively aggressive criminal charges against someone accused of a shoplifting or retail fraud offense.

Low-value shoplifting is a misdemeanor

Theft laws in Florida have a variety of different categories of charges. The value of the items stolen is the main determining factor when the prosecutor decides if they should charge someone with a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony offense.

Typically, those accused of shoplifting items worth less than $750 face misdemeanor charges. Items worth less than $100 might lead to second-degree misdemeanor charges, while merchandise worth between $100 and $750 could result in second-degree misdemeanor charges.

Those accused of shoplifting items worth more than $750 might face felony theft charges. Particularly when the items involved are jewelry or similar high-value products, the person accused of shoplifting could very well face a felony charge that could carry up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

Those who understand Florida’s unique approach to theft offenses are in a position to plan a criminal defense strategy. Mounting a defense is usually preferable to pleading guilty when accused of violating state law for most defendants, as this option allows for the possibility of avoiding criminal consequences overall.