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Florida shoplifting convictions can carry fines, service hours

Individuals convicted of a second shoplifting charge in Florida could be fined up to $1,000 or ordered to provide more than 125 hours of public service work. Labeled as "petit theft" in Florida statues, a second conviction for shoplifting can mean paying a hefty fine or having to provide a ton of community service hours to a local agency.

Florida statues allow for community service hours to be performed in lieu of paying a fine, but the service hours must by equivalent to the amount of the imposed fine. With Florida's minimum wage at $7.93 per hour, that means an imposed fine of $1,000 would translate into 126 required public service hours. Knowing those potential penalties are key for anyone facing theft charges. Accepting a second shoplifting conviction and having it appear on an individual's record can have lasting implications.

When the merchandise an individual is accused of taking has a value of $300 or more, that constitutes a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison. A theft charge conviction related to merchandise valued at more than $3,000 constitutes a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Legal representation can help explain what the penalties are for an individual convicted of shoplifting and what future impact that conviction can carry with it. A retail theft conviction goes as a red mark, saddling an individual with a criminal record. That can affect an individual's ability to get a job and smudge a person's reputation. Allegations of retail theft and other property crimes are serious charges and are not something an individual should face without legal representation.

Source: The 2014 Florida Statutes, "812.015‚ÄÉRetail and farm theft", November 18, 2014

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