Florida Shoplifting Laws

Although shoplifting may seem like a minor crime, it's estimated that loss of inventory from stores due to shoplifting can cost the U.S. retail industry up to $50 billion per year. For this reason, many states take this offense seriously and have put strict penalties in place for those convicted of shoplifting. Read on to learn more about Florida shoplifting laws.

Understanding Florida Shoplifting Laws

Shoplifting is referred to as "retail theft" in Florida and defined to include the taking away of any merchandise, property, or money from a store. Fraudulently altering a price tag is also considered to be retail theft, as is removing shopping carts from a business premises.

The consequences of shoplifting in Florida will vary depending on the value of the stolen goods and whether you have a prior criminal record of theft-related offenses. If you are convicted of shoplifting, you may receive a penalty of monetary fines, jail or prison time, and/or the suspension of your driver's license.

The following chart provides more information about Florida shoplifting laws.

Statutes

Definition

  • Under Florida law, "retail theft" is defined to mean taking and carrying away any merchandise, property, money or negotiable documents.
  • Altering or removing a label, universal product code (UPC), or price tag also falls under the definition of "retail theft," as does removing a shopping cart with the intent to deprive the merchant.

Nature of the Charge

  • Shoplifting in Florida can be charged either as petit theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the stolen merchandise.

Penalties

  • Penalties for retail theft in Florida depend on the value of the stolen merchandise and the defendant's prior criminal history.
  • If the value of the stolen merchandise is less than $100:
    • You will be charged with petit theft in the second degree, which is a second degree misdemeanor punishable of up to 60 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.
    • If you have previously been convicted of a theft offense, the second degree misdemeanor charge will be upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor charge.
    • If you have previously been charged with two or more theft offenses, the charge will be upgraded to a third degree felony charge.
  • If the value of the stolen merchandise is between $101 and $300:
    • You will be charged with petit theft in the first degree, which is punishable by up to one year in county jail, one year of probation, and/or a $1,000 fine.
    • Florida law requires the suspension of your driver's license for up to six months for a first offense, and up to one year for second or subsequent offenses.
  • If the value of the stolen merchandise is between $301 and $5,000, you will be charged with grand theft in the third degree, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Florida Shoplifting Laws: Related Resources

Consider Speaking with a Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Case

Being detained and charged with shoplifting can be frightening. A conviction of shoplifting can have significant repercussions. For this reason, if you're facing shoplifting charges, it's important to understand your state's laws and criminal penalties. You may also want to consider speaking with a local attorney about your case in order to understand your legal rights and options.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.