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Shoplifting

Florida shoplifting charges are classified under two types of theft offenses: grand theft or petit theft. The value of the stolen property and whether it was a first or subsequent offense will determine the kind of charge. Under Florida law, grand theft charges will have felony consequences, whereas petit theft will have misdemeanor consequences.

Small schemes like switching the price tags on merchandise or stealing shopping carts can potentially have criminal ramifications as well. 


Attorney for Shoplifting Crimes in Pensacola, Florida

Criminal defense attorney John Terrezza is an aggressive attorney, dedicated to fighting for the rights of Florida citizens throughout the Panhandle. He takes cases in Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, and federal cases in crimes of dishonesty in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

John Terrezza’s office is conveniently located in on Gregory St. in Downtown Pensacola,

If you or someone you know has been charged with shoplifting or other types of theft crimes, visit the Law Offices of John Terrezza to discuss the potential defenses in your case.

Call (850) 764-5291 to make an appointment to speak directly with attorney John Terrezza about the facts of your case.


Elements of Shoplifting

To be convicted of shoplifting the State must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:


Penalties for Shoplifting Provided by Florida Statute §812.015

Shoplifting, often called retail theft, is one of the most common property crimes in Florida. It is most often charged as petit theft. The first offense for shoplifting, where the item costs less than $100, is charged as petit theft and is a second-degree misdemeanor.

A conviction may result in up to sixty (60) days in jail and up to $500 fines. Petit theft charges rise in severity as the value of the property or the number of convictions increased.

Under Florida law, the second offense for petit theft constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to twelve months in jail and up to $1,000 fines. Shoplifting an item with a value of up to $300 is also a first-degree misdemeanor.

Grand theft charges for shoplifting also depend on the value of the property stolen. If the value is more than $300, then the charge is a felony.


Florida Definitions in Shoplifting Cases

For the purposes of Florida's shoplifting statute, the terms below are important to understand.

“Merchandise” is defined as personal property, capable of manual delivery, held, or offered, for retail sale by a merchant.

“Merchant” is defined as any owner, agent, operators, lessee, employee, consignee, or officer of an owner operator, of any premises used for retail purchase or sale of any merchandise.

“Retail Theft” is defined as taking possession of or carrying away merchandise, money, property, or negotiable documents; altering or removing a label, price tag, or universal product code; transferring merchandise from one container to another; or removing a shopping cart, with intent to deprive the merchant of possession, benefit, use or retail value.

“Antishoplifting device or inventory control device” is defined as a mechanism or other device designed and operated for the purpose of detecting the removal of the retail property from a mercantile establishment. 

“Value of Merchandise” is defined as the sales price of the merchandise at the time it was stolen.


Some Examples of Shoplifting Include:

Self-Help Recovery

Merchants may engage in self-help recovery. Self-help means that merchants, who have probable cause to believe that a retail theft, trespass, or unlawful use of any antishoplifting device has been committed, may take the offender into custody to recover the stolen property.

The custody must be for a reasonable amount of time (generally until law enforcement arrives) and must be done in a reasonable manner.

Taking a potential offender into custody to recovering stolen property, if done in accordance with the Statute, excuses the merchant from liability for false imprisonment, false arrest, or unlawful arrest.

Police officers, in Pensacola, FL, and the surrounding areas in Escambia County, can arrest anyone that they have probable cause to believe stole property without an arrest warrant.

Resisting a merchant’s reasonable efforts to recovery property is a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law, and that can subject you to charges that are more serious.


Additional Resources

Florida Shoplifting Laws – Visit the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) for more information on the Florida Shoplifting Statute. NASP is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise public awareness on the harmful effects of shoplifting on youth.

Shoplifting Law –Visit Shoplifting Laws for more information on shoplifting charges and penalties nationwide, and for more information on being charged with petit theft, or grand theft for shoplifting.


Find an Attorney for Shoplifting in Escambia County, Florida

If you have been charged with Shoplifting, knowing your rights and having a fighter on your side is imperative. It could be the difference between fines and community service or jail time. Call experienced criminal defense attorney John Terrezza at (850) 764-5291 for more information about shoplifting charges.

John Terrezza takes criminal defense clients in Escambia County, Santa Rosa County in Milton, and clients with federal charges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Call a lawyer who will fight against fines and jail time.

Call (850) 764-5291 to schedule an appointment or submit the form for a free evaluation of your case.

This page was last updated on Monday, December 19, 2016.

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