Embarrassed Man Stole Sex Toys Instead of Paying for Them
33 year old Florida resident Christopher Masters was charged with shoplifting when he was caught in the act of stealing sex toys from a store in Vera Beach. The manager of Spencer’s gifts caught Masters red-handed as he placed the toys into one of the pockets in his pair of shorts.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office reported that Masters had said he stole the items because he was too embarrassed to buy them. The manager of the store observed Masters walking around and after a few minutes left the store without paying the $29.98 that was the price of the products.
Masters said he had sufficient money on him to pay, but a sudden feeling of embarrassment led him to walk out of the store without parting with the required cash. He was charged with petty theft of items worth less than $100, a second degree misdemeanor in Florida. Despite the petty nature of the crime, it carries up to sixty (60) days in jail, a $500 fine plus court costs and a criminal record of dishonesty that may last a lifetime.
Shop owners can also sue a shoplifter for damages in a civil court as victimized merchants on top of and unrelated to the criminal charges. Many of them seek a minimum liquidated damages amount of $200.00 to avoid a civil lawsuit. Thus, Masters would do well to find a Florida criminal defense attorney to fight this charge for him and he may not even have to appear in court or pay any civil damages.
In may nearly three decades of fighting criminal charges, I’ve found that there is a defense to almost anything and the burden is still on state prosecutors to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt, even intent.
However, for anyone who breaks the law in Florida, loss prevention, store security, law enforcement, and prosecutors are rarely lenient. When they see the possibility of a prosecution they pursue it, regardless of how minor the offense is.
It appears that Masters definitely knew that he was committing an offense, but his emotions and personal feelings got the better of him. Obviously, if he was too embarrassed to pay, he could have left the sex toys behind in the store and perhaps come back another day when he felt he was brave enough to take the products to the check-out and pay for them. At least that’s what the assistant state attorney prosecuting the case is likely to argue.
Masters may have to pay dearly for his shyness and take what penalty the prosecution decides – or he can lawyer up with the best criminal defense attorney he can afford. I would. Stealing goods worth less than $30 seems a pretty minor offense, but in Florida even an offence like this is treated seriously and you don’t have a right to a public defender if the state certifies no incarceration.
If Masters wants a shot at a clean record, he must retain an aggressive criminal defense lawyer. Otherwise, the embarrassment he felt will follow him for the rest of his life because win or lose, Florida’s public records laws will ensure the his attempt at the sex-capade or running off with the sex toy will remain for all to see – unless a Florida criminal defense lawyer finds a way to get the case dismissed and files a petition to expunge the arrest and court records.
In Florida, shoplifting is called “retail theft” or “petty theft” and is defined in a number of ways, including taking away the property of a merchant, altering price tags on products, transferring goods from one container to a 2nd one and the removal of a shopping cart. Don’t try it! Getting arrested certainly put a damper on the enjoyment Masters may have gained had he paid cash for the products and taken them home in the first place.
If he hires an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney, he may wind up getting his case dismissed through negotiating a diversion program, a conditional dismissal or even by taking his case to trial when the attorney knows he can secure a dismissal just prior to trial or an acquittal. This would help keep a criminal conviction off of his record for the remainder of his life.
The repercussions of being convicted are far higher than the penalty imposed by Florida’s legal system, so he can’t lose by hiring an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer to invoke first offender treatment, argue for leniency, a lesser penalty or a complete dismissal of the case.
The bottom line is that there is no substitute for an experienced and relentless Florida theft crimes attorney to get involved in defending a theft case, even the smallest kind. The future implications of a criminal record for a crime of moral turpitude are just too great not to invest whatever it takes to clean up your record – then clean up your act!
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.