In Florida, petit theft and retail theft are known as crimes of dishonesty. They are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the offender’s number of prior convictions.
Most stores are incredibly candid when it comes to theft. They often post signs that read: “Shoplifting is a serious crime. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” This is not an exaggeration. In the State of Florida, after years of dealing with millions in losses because of thieves, most retail stores, shops, and outlets take even misdemeanor shoplifting very seriously; and will seek maximum penalties in every instance of theft.
Since shoplifting causes daily problems in shopping malls and retail outlets, store managers use closed-circuit surveillance cameras to record shoppers at all times and carefully train employees to carefully watch for any act of stealing. The operation is sophisticated and incredibly successful at catching even the most cautious shoplifters.
If you are accused of theft, there is a good chance your accuser has hard evidence that you committed the crime. All theft charges carry grim consequences, because they are considered crimes of dishonesty; this means that if you’re convicted of shoplifting or theft, in addition to legal consequences, the charges (or even the accusations) will show up in your background check every time you apply for a job, keeping prospective employers from hiring you.
In Florida, a first conviction of petit theft or retail theft is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. A second offense is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a loss of driving privileges for up to six months. Petit theft also carries negative implications that can prevent someone from getting a job, obtaining a professional license, and gaining acceptance into a college. Individuals found guilty of theft are required to be fingerprinted, and the conviction becomes public record. If you have priors, the case against you becomes even stronger.
If you are arrested for stealing or any kind of theft, please call the law firm of H. Kyle Fletcher immediately at 407-986-4196. We can provide a compelling defense for you and protect your rights in cases of:
- Petty Theft and Shoplifting
- Credit Card and Identity Theft
- Check Theft and Forgery
- Employee Theft
If You Are Falsely Accused
Since everyone is watching for thieves and shoplifters, the risk of false accusations has increased exponentially. If you are accused of stealing and you are innocent of the crime, it is absolutely crucial that you contact a qualified Orlando defense lawyer as soon as possible. If, for example, you are distracted by a cell phone conversation and absentmindedly step out of the store with merchandise in your hand, you may be arrested for shoplifting. An experienced shoplifting and theft defense attorney can explain the circumstances to police and security, preventing you from facing theft charges in court.
If you are accused of theft or shoplifting in Oviedo, Altamonte Springs, or the greater Orlando area, call experienced attorney H. Kyle Fletcher immediately to learn about your rights and options.