A Florida State University quarterback was recently accused of shoplifting from a grocery store despite explaining to law enforcement officers that his failure to pay was unintentional.
Shoplifting or Petit-Theft
Why do Criminal Lawyers often argue that the fair market value of the items taken is below $300 in theft cases?
In Broward County Florida, there is a diversion program that results in dismissal of shoplifting charges for first time offenders. -Criminal Lawyer William Moore
A Criminal Defense Attorney will always investigate the actual fair market value of the good that were alleged to have been stolen when preparing the defense for a client accused of shoplifting. This is because under Florida Theft Laws, goods valued at under $300 fall into the misdemeanor category of crimes (exceptions involve theft of certain items such as fire extinguishers). Property valued over $300 are considered to be felony offenses and are significantly more serious.
Requirement of Intent in Florida Shoplifting Arrests
Attorney William Moore explains that Florida Criminal Law requires that a taking of goods be intentional in order to be considered a theft. Consequently, where a failure to pay was inadvertent on the part of the defendant, a conviction will not be warranted. The big issue here is whether an arrest for shoplifting for shoplifting can be avoided by the subject suspected of petit-theft.
Defenses Before Arrest vs. After Filing
A criminal lawyer should immediately contact the assigned filing prosecutor when defending a client accused of shoplifting according to Moore. This is because regardless of the strength of a suspects defense, there is always an increased element of risk once the case is filed and enters the criminal court system. The availability of Criminal Diversion programs for Shoplifting Defendants also make the decision on how to proceed with defending the charge difficult for an accused.
Where a person is accused of shoplifting despite their having lacked any intent to steal, case filing attorneys for the State Attorney’s Office will often use their discretion to decline filing criminal charges for Petit-Theft according to William Moore, a Criminal Lawyer in Broward County. This is always the best defense due to the fact that no further action is taken by the Prosecutors Office and Record Expunction may be achieved through further action by your lawyer.
Why do Shoplifting Lawyers Argue Lack of Intent to Steal?
Recently, Jameis Winston, a Florida State Quarterback was accused of shoplifting despite claiming that he simply forgot to pay for food taken from a grocery store. Attorney Moore claims that this is a valid defense to an arrest for theft and is properly asserted. Such an act is not criminal under Florida Criminal Law and where a person mistaken forgets to pay for goods taken from a store, a conviction in improper.
Your Shoplifting Lawyer should always argue that the act of theft was unintentional to the assigned Prosecuting Attorney prior to their filing criminal charges. Communication with the prosecutor must be immediate as filing decisions are made quickly and without knowledge of all facts.