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Shoplifting vs. Theft in Florida

  • You’ve heard this story before, or perhaps you’ve been through it yourself: You’re doing a little shopping when store security takes you aside and accuses you of shoplifting. That’s a serious accusation, and it could mean trouble for you and your future. However, you might have heard the word “theft” thrown around, too. So, which is it for your case, and what’s the difference, anyway? 

    If you’ve been accused of any type of theft, it’s important to seek out a defense attorney at Hersem Law as soon as possible. We can help you fully understand your charge, the potential penalties, and how to defend yourself.

    What Is Retail Theft?

    When you’re accused of shoplifting, you’re also being accused of theft. However, there are various degrees of theft and shoplifting, and when it comes to criminal charges, the details matter.

    The big difference between the two charges, shoplifting and theft, is that shoplifting is a specific type of theft, also called “retail theft.” Taking merchandise is different in a few ways from taking items from an individual, and the law reflects that.

    Unfortunately, your penalties can still be harsh, no matter which charges you’re facing. Retail theft is still theft, which means you could face potential jail time, fines, and a criminal record that could affect your life long after the case is over. That’s why it’s important to call a Tampa criminal defense attorney at our firm as soon as possible. 

    Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft

    In Florida, both shoplifting and other types of theft can be charged in two ways: as petty theft (misdemeanor) or grand theft (felony). The charge you receive will depend on the value of the item or items you’re accused of stealing, as well as what the items are. 

    Anything worth under $750 can be charged as petty theft. Grand theft, on the other hand, usually involves items like higher ticket items, motor vehicles, firearms, livestock, and traffic signs worth more than $750. 

    Even a petty theft charge can mean trouble for your future, which is why it’s important to call a defense attorney at our firm. We’ll immediately get to work building a bulletproof defense for you to help you avoid penalties or reduce your charge.

    Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Theft Charge 

    If you’ve been accused of shoplifting, you may need help understanding your charge. You may know that shoplifting means stealing from a store, but what does the difference between the various types of theft mean for your case under Florida law? 

    At Hersem Law, we understand that the terminology and legal jargon can be confusing. That’s why we offer free strategy sessions, where we can discuss your unique case and how we can help you avoid harsh criminal penalties. 

    If you have questions about your case, a defense attorney at our firm is ready to talk about your options. Give us a call at 813-251-7291 or visit our website to learn more about theft and how we can defend your future.