Despite their fame and fortune, some celebrities just can’t help themselves when it comes to shoplifting. Perhaps if the belief that their notoriety will shield them from being reported by a store clerk. Maybe it’s that they just can’t be bothered with having to wait to be rung up at the register. Classic examples of this are the infamous video of Britney Spears looking into a camera while stating “I stole something” after pocketing a BIC lighter without paying for it or Winona Ryder’s therapy by theft to combat depression.
For us common folk it’s important to remember how theft charges are prosecuted and how they can stack up to amount to much greater offenses with significantly higher penalties.
First time shoplifting offenders get off easy
If you’re arrested for misdemeanor theft in Florida, any decent criminal defense attorney should be able to get you into a diversion program which upon successful completion will entitle the offender to a complete dismissal of their case. These programs generally last no longer than three months and require the defendant to complete a shoplifters intervention course in addition to staying out of trouble for the length of the program. Once the case is dismissed, the offender can apply to the Florida Department of Law enforcement for what is known as a certificate of eligibility to have their record completely expunged. Expunging a record ensures that it will be destroyed and deleted from government records once the entire process is complete.
A first time misdemeanor theft is prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor, the lowest degree of offense under our Florida criminal statutes, a second offense is prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor while a third can be filed as a felony. While some first time felony grand theft charges are eligible for a more stringent diversion program, a three strikes felony petit-theft charge is not.
Grand theft three offenders
Repeat offenders who have been charged with grand theft in the past also face enhanced penalties, albeit under a different avenue. In the felony Circuit Court, repeat grand theft charges allow the state attorney’s office to seek that the court declare the defendant a habitual offender. Habitual offenders face maximum penalties that are twice the amount of the standard maximum sentence. For example, the lowest degree felony grand theft is 3rd° punishable by five years in a Florida State prison. If the offender is declared arbitral offender, they face 10 years. Probation offers are rarely if ever conveyed to habitual offenders or prison release three offenders.
questions relating to theft charges in Florida should be directed to William Moore at one financial Plaza, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394 or by calling 954-523-5333. Attorney William Moore has been defending theft cases in Broward County Florida for 20 years and will answer any questions that you may have in this regard.