Depending on the value of the shoplifted property and if this is your first or fifth offense, you could be facing jail time ranging from a few weeks or months to years and fines from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
Shoplifting Laws in Florida
Shoplifting in Florida is commonly referred to as retail theft. It can be as simple as stuffing a pair of socks or sunglasses into your purse and walking out with it, or can be more planned or thought out. For example, if you switched the tags on two differently priced products, even though you “paid” for the product if you did not pay it’s appropriate, full retail value, then you are committing retail theft. Similarly, if you move merchandise from one container to another, you are also committing retail theft.
Many merchants hire people to protect their merchandise from shoplifters. These people can be uniformed security guards, or people in street clothes, walking around the store undercover looking for signs of shoplifting. If there is probable cause that a person has committed shoplifting, the merchant can reasonably detain the person for a reasonable amount of time in order to retrieve the stolen goods or to charge suspect with shoplifting.
Will I Go to Jail for Shoplifting First Offense?
Although jail is theoretically possible for a first time shoplifting offense, jail time is rare. A fine, probation, or community service is more likely to occur in this case. There can be aggravating factors that can result in jail time for a first offense, but generally additional or enhanced charges are brought, such as assault, burglary, robbery, etc.
Repeat offenders eventually go to jail, sometimes for a long period of time. Although shoplifting is sometimes labeled as a minor offense, it is a crime and if convicted you will have a criminal record.
Jail Time for Shoplifting
Keep in mind that Florida has maximum shoplifting fines that include up to five years in jail. If the property stolen is worth less than $100, the level of offense is a 2nd degree petit theft. If the property stolen was worth between $100.00 and $299.00 or if prior convictions have occurred, the level of offense is a 1st degree petit theft and the maximum Florida penalty is one year in jail or a $1,000.00 fine.
Facing criminal charges for theft in Florida can be frightening and overwhelming. Please remember you don’t have to go through this process alone. If you have problems with Kleptocracy, a condition described as the inability to refrain from stealing items for reasons other than personal or financial gains, seek the help of a professional.