Friday, December 20, a 46-year-old woman was arrested on a shoplifting charge in Port St. Lucie, Florida. According to police officers, who looked over video footage, the woman had gone into a Walmart with her 6-year-old son, and he had placed a toy on the belt at checkout when his mother pulled it off and stuffed in it a plastic bag that she then handed to him. She was held in custody by store security, and in a police search, there were further unpurchased items discovered in her purse, but she said to go ahead and ring them up, saying that this was all a "misunderstanding". It was reported that the woman was out on bond for a prior shoplifting arrest from this summer, a fact that could aggravate her current charges.
In Florida, if someone faces their first charge of shoplifting items worth less than $100, then they are being charged with second degree petit theft. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail. For a second conviction of this offense, this could be as much as a first degree petit theft charge, which could be a first degree misdemeanor. This would entail up to $1,000 in fines, and up to one year in jail. Shoplifting charges could become a felony if the merchandise taken was valued at more than $300. But whatever the charge of petit theft, a conviction could mean time in jail or prison, serious fines, and a lifelong criminal record.
If you face a theft charge, then you need to act now to keep this from becoming a conviction.
Contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. to learn how an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your reputation and freedom.