Shoplifting in the state of Florida is a very serious offense, with a high potential of damaging your reputation. Depending on the value of the stolen merchandise, retail theft is classified as either petit theft (less than $300), or grand theft (more than $300).

Proving Guilt in a Shoplifting Case

shoplifting defense attorneysIn order to prove that retail theft has occurred, the state must prove two things:

  • The defendant knowingly took possession of or carried away merchandise, altered a price tag, transferred merchandise from one container to another, or removed a shopping cart from the vicinity.
  • The defendant had intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, or full benefit of the merchandise.


While shopping for sunglasses, Carly puts a pair in her purse while the cashier has her back turned. After walking outside the store, she is stopped by a security officer and is found to have stolen merchandise.

Maximum Penalty for a Retail Theft Case

  • Petit Theft: Up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Grand Theft (3rd degree felony): Up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney