Okaloosa County Shoplifting Lawyer
One of the most frequent arrests in Okaloosa County is Retail Theft, more commonly referred to as Shoplifting. Although most shoplifting crimes are typically charged as misdemeanors, the penalties are harsh and can carry lifelong consequences, if convicted. A conviction for shoplifting can affect your opportunities for employment, scholarships, credit and housing, not to mention giving you the reputation of a thief. If you have been charged with a shoplifting offense in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 to find out how we can help you get your case resolved without a negative impact on your future.
Shoplifting under Florida Law
Florida Statute 812.015(1)(d) defines retail theft as “the taking possession of, or carrying away of, merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents; altering or removing a label, universal product code, or price tag; transferring merchandise from one container to another; or removing a shopping cart, with intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value.”
Depending on the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen, retail theft can be classified as either misdemeanor petit theft or felony grand theft.
In cases involving items that are valued at $100 or less the charge is typically a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. Merchandise that is worth more than $100 but less than $300 is usually treated as a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000.00 fine.
Can Shoplifting be charged as a felony in Okaloosa County?
Yes it can. If the property that was alleged to have been stolen was valued at $300.00 or more, you face a charge of Grand Theft, a third degree felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.
Do I really need an attorney for a Shoplifting charge?
All too often, we hear people say that they don’t need an attorney for a retail theft charge because in their eyes, it is not that serious of a crime. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In most cases, that mindset will guarantee a conviction. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can handle your shoplifting case on your own or that a public defender will take care of it for you. You need someone to stand up for you and protect your legal rights and your future. Flaherty Defense Firm has been defending clients charged with Retail Theft in Okaloosa County for over 16 years and we have a high success rate in resolving cases that either resulted in a dismissal or a withhold of adjudication, leaving your criminal record free of a conviction.
Defending your Okaloosa County Shoplifting charge
Whether you were physically arrested and taken to jail or given a Notice to Appear in court, the potential penalties are the same and you need an advocate to ensure that you do not end up with a conviction. In order to convict you of shoplifting, the state must prove two elements. First, they must prove that you knowingly took possession of or carried away merchandise and second, that you intended to deprive the merchant of their merchandise. It is our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. We will examine all police reports, witness reports, surveillance footage and all of the evidence the State intends to use against you and look for holes in the prosecuting attorney’s case. We will explore all options available to you, advise you of our opinions and keep you in the loop during each step of the process.
Your Okaloosa County Shoplifting defense attorney
When your future is at stake, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 to schedule your free consultation. We will never judge you or treat you like a criminal. We know everyone makes mistakes from time to time and it is our belief that everyone deserves a second chance. Our number one goal is to resolve your case in a manner that is favorable to you and causes the least amount of stress and hardship as possible. Call our Okaloosa County shoplifting defense lawyers today to see what we can do for you.