Shoplifting Lawyer in Tampa, Florida 

Defending the Accused of Shoplifting in Florida

Shoplifting, a form of theft, is a serious offense under Florida's criminal statutes. Florida law outlines several different types of theft, each with its own set of penalties and punishments. A successful defense in a shoplifting case requires a comprehensive understanding of these statutes and the elements of the crime that the prosecution must prove for a conviction. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the theft offenses under Florida criminal statutes, the punishments and penalties, the criminal trial process, and why Musca Law, P.A. is considered a top-rated criminal defense firm in Tampa, Florida.

Theft Offenses Under Florida Criminal Statutes

Florida's criminal statutes define several categories of theft, each with their specific features, penalties, and defenses. It is essential to understand each type of theft offense to mount a strong defense.

Petit Theft (Florida Statutes §812.014): This involves the unauthorized taking or use of another's property valued at less than $300. Petit theft can be classified as either first or second degree, depending on the value of the stolen goods and prior convictions.

  Stealing a wallet with $200 in it
  Taking an item worth $100 from a retail store without paying

Grand Theft (Florida Statutes §812.014): This offense involves the unauthorized taking or use of another's property valued at $300 or more. Grand theft can range from third degree (property value $300-$20,000) to first degree (property value $100,000 or more or specific high-value items).
  Stealing a car valued at $15,000
  Taking jewelry worth $50,000 from a store

Retail Theft/Shoplifting (Florida Statutes §812.015): This involves taking merchandise from a merchant with intent to deprive the merchant of the possession, use, benefit, or full retail value of the merchandise.
  Switching price tags on an item to pay a lower price
  Concealing an item in a bag or clothing and leaving the store without paying.

Dealing in Stolen Property (Florida Statutes §812.019): This involves trafficking or endeavoring to traffic in property that one knows or should know was stolen.

  Selling stolen electronics online
  Purchasing stolen goods with the intent to resell them

(For full details of these offenses, penalties, and defenses, refer to the Florida Statutes online.)

Theft Crime Punishments and Penalties in Florida

The penalties for these offenses can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature and severity of the offense. Here, we will provide an overview of the potential punishments and penalties for each theft offense:

1.    Petit Theft - Second Degree (property value less than $100): Up to $500 fine and imprisonment up to 60 days and First Degree (property value $100-$299, or prior theft convictions): Up to $1,000 fine and imprisonment up to one year.

2.    Grand Theft - Third Degree (property value $300-$20,000, or specific items such as a motor vehicle or firearm): Up to $5,000 fine and imprisonment up to five years and Second Degree (property value $20,000-$99,999, or specific items such as emergency medical or law enforcement equipment), Second Degree (property value $20,000-$99,999, or specific items such as emergency medical or law enforcement equipment): Up to $10,000 fine and imprisonment up to 15 years, and First Degree (property value $100,000 or more, or specific high-value items): Up to $10,000 fine and imprisonment up to 30 years.
3.    Retail Theft/Shoplifting - Penalties for retail theft/shoplifting depend on the value of the stolen merchandise and any prior theft convictions. They can range from a second-degree petit theft for stealing merchandise worth less than $100 to a third-degree grand theft for stealing merchandise worth $300 or more.
4.    Dealing in Stolen Property - Second Degree Felony: Up to $10,000 fine and imprisonment up to 15 years

Elements of the Crime

The prosecution must prove several elements to obtain a conviction for theft:

  1. The defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained or used or endeavored to obtain or use the property of another.
  2. The defendant did so with intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of the use of their property or to appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it.

For a successful defense, a Tampa Shoplifting Defense Attorney will often challenge the prosecution's evidence and seek to establish reasonable doubt in one or more of these elements. For example, the defense might argue that the defendant did not knowingly obtain the property, or that they did not have the intent to deprive the owner of their property.

The Criminal Trial Process

The criminal trial process in Florida follows these general steps:

  1. Arrest: The accused is arrested based on probable cause that they committed the theft offense. They are then booked and processed at the local police station.
  2. First Appearance: Within 24 hours of arrest, the accused appears before a judge who informs them of the charges and sets bail, if appropriate.
  3. Arraignment: The accused is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If the accused pleads not guilty, the case proceeds to the discovery and motions phase.
  4. Discovery and Motions: Both the defense and prosecution exchange information and evidence related to the case. They may also file pretrial motions, such as a motion to suppress evidence or a motion to dismiss the charges.
  5. Plea Bargaining: The defense and prosecution may engage in negotiations to resolve the case without going to trial. This could involve a guilty plea to a lesser charge or an agreement on a recommended sentence.
  6. Trial: If the case goes to trial, the prosecution presents its case first, followed by the defense. Both sides call witnesses and present evidence to support their arguments. The jury then deliberates and reaches a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
  7. Sentencing (if convicted): If the accused is found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence based on the severity of the offense and other factors, such as the defendant's criminal history and any mitigating circumstances.

Choosing a Tampa Shoplifting Defense Attorney

Choosing the right Tampa Shoplifting Lawyer is critical to your defense. You need a Shoplifting Defense Attorney who has a deep understanding of Florida's theft statutes and the ability to effectively challenge the prosecution's case. Consider the following factors when choosing a criminal defense attorney:

  • Experience: Look for an attorney with a track record of success in defending theft cases. They should have experience with the specific type of theft charge you are facing and a thorough understanding of the relevant statutes.
  • Reputation: Seek out an attorney with a strong reputation for professionalism, ethics, and client satisfaction. You can ask for recommendations from friends or family members, read online reviews, or consult professional organizations like the Florida Bar Association.
  • Communication: Choose an attorney who is responsive, attentive, and able to clearly explain your legal options and the potential outcomes of your case. They should be willing to listen to your concerns and answer your questions.
  • Strategy: Look for an attorney who can develop a tailored defense strategy for your case, taking into account the unique facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged theft.

Why Choose Musca Law, P.A.

Musca Law, P.A. is a top-rated criminal defense firm in Florida with a team of experienced attorneys dedicated to defending your rights. We have a thorough understanding of Florida's theft laws and a track record of successfully defending clients accused of theft in Tampa and throughout Florida. Here are some reasons why you should choose Musca Law, P.A.:

Expertise: Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling theft cases and have a deep understanding of Florida's criminal statutes. We are well-versed in the nuances of theft offenses and have the expertise to effectively challenge the prosecution's case.

Personalized Service: At Musca Law, P.A., we recognize that every case is unique. We take the time to understand the specific details of your case and develop a customized defense strategy tailored to your needs.

Client Satisfaction: Our firm is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. We have a long history of satisfied clients who have benefited from our diligent and skilled representation.

Availability: We are available 24/7 and offer a free consultation to discuss your case and provide advice on the best course of action. We understand that facing a theft charge can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, and we are here to support you every step of the way.

Act Now to Protect Your Future with Musca Law, P.A.

Shoplifting charges in Florida are a serious matter with potentially severe consequences. Don't allow a momentary lapse in judgement or a misunderstanding to compromise your future. A dedicated, knowledgeable, and strategic defense is crucial to safeguarding your rights and freedoms.

Musca Law, P.A. stands ready to be your formidable ally in this challenging time. With a proven track record of successful defenses and a deep understanding of Florida's complex theft statutes, our top-rated team is committed to delivering the aggressive representation you need.

Don't wait another moment. The sooner we can begin working on your case, the more effectively we can build a solid defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. We are available for consultations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - yes, that includes all major holidays.

Call us now, toll-free, at 1-888-484-5057. Your freedom, your reputation, your future - they're too important to leave to chance. Take action today, and let Musca Law, P.A. put our extensive legal expertise to work for you.