Sometimes, people steal or shoplift because they think it will be a thrill, or a “rush”. As you now already know, there is no “rush” that comes from being arrested and having people think you are a thief. Not to mention, if you are convicted in court, it will stay on your record forever. You’ll have to explain why you have a theft conviction on your record every time you fill out a job application, housing application, financial aid form, or college admission form.

If you are in the military and have a security clearance, a conviction for Shoplifting could affect your ability to keep your clearance.

To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, let a Crestview shoplifting defense lawyer help you.

My name is Tim Flaherty. Since 2001, I have been defending Crestview residents and military members accused of Retail Theft. My partner, Brandy Merrifield, has worked with me since 2007. We have had a lot of success helping clients avoid a conviction for Shoplifting, so call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098.

Will I have to go to court if I was given a notice to appear for Retail Theft in Crestview?

As long as you hire us before your first court date (plea day), you will not have to appear in person. This is really helpful if you live out of state, or you are in the military. We will personally handle your court dates. Once the case goes past the first court date, it will be scheduled for a pretrial conference. Most likely, we can appear on your behalf at that date as well.

From there, it depends on which direction your case goes. Either way, we will keep you in the loop every step of the way. If there is a court appearance where you are required to be there, or one where we think you should be there, we will let you know with plenty of notice so that you can make arrangements.

We will make this process as easy as possible for you.

What can you do to keep this off my record?

If you have taken the time to read the information on this page, you have probably decided that you need an attorney to make sure you are treated fairly in court. You probably have realized that it is not a good idea to just walk into court by yourself and plead guilty.

Our job is to give you options and explain the pros and cons of each option. The goal is for you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision about your case. We will help guide you through that decision-making process, but ultimately, it will be up to you.

One option that may accomplish your goals is a program called Pretrial Diversion. This program offers you the chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. It ensures that your case will get dismissed as long as you hold up your end of the bargain.

When we meet to about your case, we can talk about whether that might be a good option for you.

The store got their stuff back, so why did they still call the police?

Minor shoplifting incidents were handled differently in the past. Usually, if the store got their merchandise back, they wouldn’t call the police. Or, even if the police were called, maybe the store manager/owner wouldn’t press charges. Not anymore. Store managers and owners in Crestview will call the police, and they will prosecute.

Are there any other charges I might face with Shoplifting in Crestview?

If there is a an allegation that you fought or tried to run away from the loss prevention officer or the police officer, you could be charged with the additional offense of Resisting a Retail Merchant. This charge increases the potential penalty you may face. It carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1000.00 fine. Those sanctions are in addition to what you may receive for the Shoplifting charge.

It is our job to do everything possible to make sure you aren’t convicted of either charge. When formulating your defense, we start by looking at the elements of Resisting a Retail Merchant which can be found in Fla. Stat. 812.015(6). According to this statute, the State is required to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant was committing, or had a committed a theft of property from the owner or custodian of property;
  2. During or after the theft, the victim made a reasonable effort to recover the property;
  3. The defendant resisted the victim’s effort to recover the property;
  4. At the time of the defendant’s resistance, the victim had probable cause to believe the defendant had concealed or removed the property from its place of display or the place where the property had been kept; and
  5. At the time of the resistance, the victim was a merchant, merchant’s employee, or law enforcement officer.

We will carefully review the facts of your case and customize a defense that gives you the best chance at a favorable outcome.

Is shoplifting in Crestview a misdemeanor or a felony?

This is based on the value of the property taken.

Usually, shoplifting cases are a misdemeanor charge. In most cases, unless you have prior convictions for theft on your record, you won’t face a jail sentence for a shoplifting case. But if the judge decides to make an example of you, or the store manager is demanding their “pound of flesh”, the maximum jail sentence is between 60 days and 12 months in jail.

As for the question of whether shoplifting is every charged as a felony, there are 2 ways:

  • If the value of the stolen property was over $750.00, the charge will be a felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a $5000.00 fine, and a permanent felony conviction.
  • If you have 2 prior convictions on your record for shoplifting or any theft-related offense, the State can charge you with a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a $5000.00 fine, and a felony conviction on your record.

Contact a Crestview Retail Theft Attorney

If you or a loved one have been charged with shoplifting or retail theft in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 398-8098 for a free consultation.

To learn more about theft cases we handle, click here.

Brandy Merrifield
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney