Is Shoplifting a Serious Crime? 

 June 6, 2013

By  LMW Attorneys

Shoplifting is a very serious crime that can have wide ranging consequences. Not only does shoplifting affect the perpetrator, but also the billions of dollars in annual business losses usually trickle down to the consumer. Although some people may look at shoplifting as a “victimless” crime, it is actually a much bigger deal than some may think.

Despite companies’ best efforts to stop theft, thieves still find ways around the most advanced security measures. It is estimated that the average American family pays over $300 yearly to offset the cost of theft.

Each year, thousands of people are arrested and convicted of shoplifting, and juveniles commit more than half of the thefts. Teens often pocket small items such as iPods, CDs, magazines, and small electronics.

Shoplifting is sometimes thought of as petty theft, especially when the value of the item is under $50. Regardless of the value, you can still receive a heavy penalty if you are a repeat offender. If you steal something valued over $500, you could face a felony charge and even stiffer punishment.

If you are caught shoplifting, you should immediately seek legal advice from an experienced defense attorney, such as Brian Mulligan.

As is the case in most states, the laws on shoplifting vary between adults and teens in the state of Florida. Perpetrators under the age of 18 generally get off with lighter sentences. Instead of serving time in jails, or adult prisons, teens are usually remanded to juvenile detention centers with their peers. Juveniles can also be ordered to perform community service duties or take crime and punishment related classes.

Detention is no cakewalk and you could find yourself being held for months, or years, if you continue to steal. Adults, on the other hand, don’t get off so lightly. If it is your first offense, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and ordered to pay a fine. If you are a multiple offender or steal a significant amount, you could be charged with a felony and face a few years in prison.

Only an attorney can explain your options and give you a realistic picture of what you may face. If you are in legal trouble, please contact LMW Attorneys to setup a meeting.