What happens if you are caught shoplifting in Florida?

Teens are known for pushing boundaries, which often means breaking some laws. A common offense among young people is shoplifting, but it is not just teens who steal.

The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reports that 1 in 4 youths have shoplifted before they turned 16 years old and 1 in 11 of all Americans shoplift. They estimate that there are 27 million shoplifters.

Florida statute 812.015 describes the penalties for “retail theft,” which is what we call shoplifting. It includes these actions:

  • Taking a possession
  • Carrying away merchandise
  • Taking property, money or negotiable documents
  • Altering or removing a label, product code or price tag
  • Transferring products to other containers
  • Removing a shopping cart with intent to take from the merchant

Though shoplifting may feel like a minor offense to some, it can have very real consequences. However, they do depend on the value of what is stolen.

If the shoplifted merchandise is less than $100 in value, you may be charged with petit theft in the second degree. This is a second-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. A second theft charge is then a first-degree misdemeanor and more theft offenses will become a third-degree felony.

If the value of the stolen products is more than $100 but less than $300, the charge will be petit theft in the first degree. This can result in up to a year in jail, a year of probation, up to $1,000 in fines and a license suspension for six months. More than one offense adds a year of license suspension.

Merchandise that is stolen valuing more than $300 and less than $5,000 is grand theft in the third degree, which can result in up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Shoplifting, though it sometimes is portrayed as innocent teen behavior, can have very real consequences.

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