Being convicted of theft in Florida can be a scary, time-consuming experience. Even if considered “petty,” any theft conviction is a very serious undertaking that can dramatically impact the quality of one’s future. Even more significant is the potential difficulty in finding employment after a conviction.
The long road ahead
No form of punishment for theft is simple, even for petty crimes. If convicted, there will be many layers of consequences that will test one’s mental and physical stamina. After your arrest, you will spend a lot of time in and out of court, particularly if you are defending yourself. There is the initial arraignment, pretrial conference, status hearing and a myriad of other legal conferences, hearings, classes to reverse the theft mindset or “impulse control,” community service, possible probation and supervision. If you didn’t have one before, you will now have a criminal record that will be available to the public and show up on background checks. If you are undocumented, there is the additional risk of banishment from the US.
Punishment for theft is directly impacted by the value of the stolen items. The greater the value, the harsher the penalty. Punishment can also be affected by the defendant’s criminal past and positive probation status. Organized theft rings are also looked unfavorably upon and exact stiffer punishment.
There is hope
If you have been caught shoplifting, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, especially if you are a first-time offender. You may not be given any jail time and, it may be possible to get the theft charge sealed or expunged.