Criminal Defense Attorney For Shoplifting Charges In Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Elsewhere in Okaloosa County
One of the most common types of criminal cases that I handle is that of Shoplifting. It is an especially common type of charge for juveniles and young adults.
In most cases, it involves the suspect being accosted by security personnel after being observed on camera allegedly taking merchandise. The suspects are normally stopped near the exits and are confronted by the retailer’s loss prevention employee.
At the same time this is all going on, the store has contacted police and they arrive shortly thereafter. Subsequently, the individual is either arrested or given a criminal summons or notice to appear in court for Arraignment (sometimes called Plea Day).
Depending on the value of the merchandise alleged to have been stolen, the crime of shoplifting or retail theft can be charged as felony theft or misdemeanor theft. The threshold limit for the theft to become a felony is $300.
Crimes of Dishonesty and Impeachable Offenses
Besides the obvious connotation a shoplifting charge will have on your current employment situation as well as future job opportunities, you need to know that any theft related charge falls under the “crime of dishonesty” categorization.
And therefore, if you are convicted of stealing from a store or other retail establishment, your criminal history will not only show the criminal charge, but if you are to testify in a court of law in the future, your past will be subject to cross-examination and witness impeachment, seriously damaging your credibility in any legal proceeding.
Shoplifting or Retail Theft Penalties
Two things will affect the level of charge in a theft related case. First, we must consider the value of the item, which is usually the retail price (or fair market value).
Second, is the prior record of the defendant and specifically, whether or not they have a prior criminal history involving theft offenses.
If you or a family member has been arrested for shoplifting in Fort Walton Beach, Destin or elsewhere in Okaloosa or Walton County, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 to discuss your situation. The call is free.