Did The 5-Finger Discount Get You In Trouble With The Law?
The holidays have traditionally been a time that retailers see an uptick in retail theft. In the old days they just had to worry about people trying to sneak out with an extra CD tucked underneath their shirt. But these days many criminals have become much more brazen, even engaging in smash and grab thefts in broad daylight. If you’ve been charged with retail theft, you are looking at some serious penalties. That’s why finding an experienced local criminal defense attorney would behoove you right now.
Prevention Measures Abound
Retailers are taking it seriously: they’re doing everything they can to reduce the incidence of retail theft. In addition to providing employees with better training to recognize shoplifting, many businesses employ undercover personnel to keep an eye on shoppers. Modern technology provides a lift to security measures, as well. Merchandise often contains tags that set off alarms in the event of a theft. Of course, there are cameras everywhere these days, tracking the movements of customers, and of thieves.
If You’ve Been Accused of Shoplifting
So let’s say you’ve been accused of shoplifting. What do you do now? Let’s start with what you should not do:
- Don’t argue with store employees or physically resist.
- Don’t bother trying to explain your side of things.
- Don’t share any personal information about yourself with store employees.
- Never sign anything.
Now for what you should do:
- If an officer identifies him or herself, you must tell them your name.
- Immediately ask to speak to your attorney.
- Refrain from saying anything.
- Don’t say a word to managers, loss prevention individuals, or anyone else.
- If you are given a citation, you can deal with matters in court later (this is likely if you were accused of taking merchandise valued under $100).
If you are Arrested
If you are arrested—which could happen if you were accused of taking merchandise worth over $100– you should have been advised of your Miranda rights. Continue to say nothing beyond expressing your desire to speak to your attorney.
Florida Penalties for Shoplifting
Shoplifting is taken seriously in Florida. If you were found guilty of taking merchandise worth less than $100 you could wind up with a fine of $500, and even be sent to jail for a couple of months. The greater the value of merchandise taken, the more intense the penalties. Repeat offenders will also see harsher consequences. Ultimately, offenders could wind up in State prison for five years and get stuck with $5000 in fines.
The Defense You Need
At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our dedicated and experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys are prepared to fight for the best outcomes for you. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.