If you have been caught shoplifting in Miami because you have been found in possession of a product you haven’t paid for outside of a store, this could be a serious matter. Your case could be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Many stores these days won’t just let you off after an apology or offering to pay after the fact. They will typically want to get a full blown conviction to ensure you don’t do the same thing a second time and as a deterrent to discourage others from doing the same.
If you don’t believe you intentionally took the product without paying, you be able to worm your way out of it with the help of an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney advocating for you.
The store that wishes to prosecute you has to do some work to ensure it gets a conviction. First of all the store has to prove that you had every intention of removing a product without paying for it first. Secondly, it has to be able to prove that you did take the item and you had a premeditated intention of taking it out of the store without making any effort to pay.
You can make the whole process of being caught for shoplifting just that much less painful by ensuring you follow some simple rules when you are accused by a store employee or a security guard, also referred to as loss prevention:
1. Remain calm. If you can, don’t say too much about the incident as you may find you say things that could get you into even more strife with whoever has apprehended you. Stores don’t have to read you your rights you must know them. Don’t speak about the incident, and don’t fall for threats that they will go harder or easier on you if you sign a confession or you speak. Just ask for your attorney and wait until you get one or until the police arrives.
2. Know what your legal rights are. For example, a store employee and a security guard are both legally allowed to detain you for a reasonable amount of time, if they think they have sufficient evidence which proves you have stolen something. One thing they typically can’t do is use any force. If they detain you for an unreasonable period of time or use force, your lawyer can sue the store for damages on your behalf.
3. The law in Florida also states that you don’t have to have any stolen property on you to be apprehended for shoplifting. You may be an accomplice to a friend by distracting store staff away from an area of a store so your friend has time to take something off the shelf and conceal it before leaving the store. You can be convicted of shoplifting in this way too.
4. There are times when a person is distracted by a cellphone and inadvertently walks out of a store without paying for an item. If this was a genuine mistake, your criminal defense attorney may be able to show this in court and get this case dismissed. However, don’t try to justify your actions at the scene because everything you say will be used against you in court. Remember, there are no Miranda rights associated with private security guards
Penalties for shoplifting are harsh in Florida
Florida shoplifting laws come under Florida Statutes Sections 812.0155, 812.014 and 812.015. Shoplifting is called ‘petit theft’ if the item you have stolen has a value of $300 or less.
If the cash value of the goods that were intended to be stolen is no more than $100 the charge will be petit theft of the 2nd degree, which is considered to be a misdemeanor and attracts a possible prison term of up 60 days and/or a fine of up to $500 plus court costs.
If the cash value of the goods intended to be stolen is over $100 but less than $300, the charge will be considered a petit theft, which is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree. This could lead to up to 12 months in prison or 12 months probation and/ or fines up to $1000 plus court costs.
However, if the cash value of the stolen goods is from $300 to $5,000, the charge leveled at you will be grand theft of the 3rd degree, which is a 3rd degree felony attracting a prison term of possibly five years and/or a fine up to $5,000 plus court costs. If the value of the merchandise is $5000 through $100,000, Will be a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If it is over $100,000 in value, you are facing up to 30 years in prison and will be charged with a 1st° felony. This type of felony is punishable with minimum State prison time, not probation, under the Florida criminal punishment code. Thus you must be very careful to hire the right criminal defense attorney when faced with a grand theft charge of any level.
Why you will need a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney when charged with theft in Florida
Because penalties for shoplifting are so harsh in Florida, you may not only lose your freedom but you could have your drivers license suspended as well. This is a good reason to hire Miami criminal defense attorney Albert Quirantes Esq. to argue your case and fight for you.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a criminal offense in Florida, then you can follow Miami Criminal Attorney Albert M. Quirantes on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.
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.