As you might already know, shoplifting is a form of theft. It is the act of wrongfully and willfully taking property that belongs to someone else. Shoplifting is stealing from a retail outlet, and charges can be classed as misdemeanors or felonies depending on your state’s criminal laws. Brandt Criminal Defense in Saint Paul, MN can help you navigate the legal system and understand your options.
In some cases, shoplifting is called fourth-degree or petty theft. These crimes are minor and are usually only punished with fines. However, this applies only when the stolen items are of lesser value, such as candy or gum. Stealing small items may seem like a small crime, but the severity of the offense is determined by the monetary value of the item. State laws differ on the item value that elevates charges to felony level and, in some states, second convictions are felonies regardless of the stolen item’s value.
Sentencing for Shoplifting
The sentence given for shoplifting convictions is dependent upon the severity of the crime. For a misdemeanor, most states can give up to a year in jail and a fine of less than $500. Exact sentencing depends on the misdemeanor class and the defendant’s prior record. In most cases, juveniles are given lesser sentences than adults receive.
A felony shoplifting charge is more severe, and defendants can get years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. For instance, in Florida, a third-degree felony conviction can result in a five-year prison sentence and a $5000 fine. Even a light sentence can give a defendant a criminal record unless that record is expunged or sealed. A permanent criminal record can make it difficult for a defendant to get certain jobs or professional licenses. If you are facing shoplifting charges, or you need to get such a charge removed from your criminal record, talk to defense attorneys in Saint Paul, MN.
If you are charged with shoplifting and you’re facing a conviction, you should understand the legal consequences of your actions. Browse the website and consult a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. Defense attorneys in Saint Paul, MN, can help you review your options, and your lawyer may be able to help you get your charges dismissed, deferred, or reduced if it is your first offense.