5th Oct 2015
A criminal defense attorney in Miami-Dade handles a variety of cases in which a person faces criminal penalties, such as imprisonment, fines or both. It is important that the criminal defense attorney in Miami -Dade who you choose to represent you has knowledge and experience with the particular statute that you are being charged under. For shoplifting, the relevant Florida statute is called “retail theft” and is listed under Florida Statute §812.015.
Under the Florida law, retail theft can mean more than taking merchandise out of a store. It can also mean:
- Removing or altering a label, price tag or UPC;
- Transferring merchandise from one receptacle to another; or
- Removing a shopping cart from the store with the intent to take it away from the store
The seriousness of the potential charge and punishment depends on the value of the merchandise or property taken. The defendant’s prior criminal history is also taken into account. For relatively low values, the maximum punishment is 60 days in jail and imposition of a $500 fine. For charges related to merchandise valued at less than $300, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony retail theft charge carries a maximum five-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. However, if there is a prior history of shoplifting, the charge can be upgraded to a more serious misdemeanor or even a felony.
A criminal defense attorney recognizes the seriousness of a retail theft conviction. He or she can develop a legal strategy based on the particular circumstances of the case. He or she can challenge the prosecution’s evidence in an attempt to get the case completely dismissed. If there is substantial evidence, he or she can also attempt to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecution in order to help get the charges reduced or the sentence reduced.