Petit Theft/Shoplifting


Have you ever walked into a drug store, picked out several different items while talking on your cell phone, absent-mindedly shoved one of those items in your pocket on your way to the cash register and suddenly realized you had that item in your pocket just before paying for the rest of your items? You pulled out the item and paid for it with the rest of your purchases and went on your way.

But what if you innocently forgot that you had that small pack of batteries in your pocket? You would have paid for your items and walked out of the store, only to be stopped moments later by a hostile loss-prevention officer who aggressively escorts you back into the store, accuses you of theft, makes a scene in front of other shoppers, embarrasses you and threatens to call the police. No matter how honest your mistake may have been… that security guard won’t listen to your side of the story.

Innocently forgetting to pay for an item one time can end up haunting you for the rest of your life.

A Crime of Dishonesty

In Florida, retail shoplifting is considered a “crime of dishonesty.” Shoplifting, the taking of property from a retail store or business, is a criminal offense. Under Florida law, there are two elements required:

  • That you intended to take from a store (without paying for it) an item that didn’t belong to you; and
  • That you did take the item or tried to take the item out of the store

Shoplifting can include:

  • Hiding or concealing merchandise;
  • Deliberately switching labels or covering a price tag with a discounted price tag from another item; and
  • Returning stolen items for a refund or store credit

If the item is valued at $300 or less, it is considered Petit (Petty) Theft. If it is over $300 it is considered Grand Theft. Under Florida law if you are convicted of Shoplifting, no matter how insignificant the item may be, for the rest of your life… every time you fill out

  • a job application,
  • a tenant application,
  • a membership application,
  • an application for a professional license,
  • an application for a loan or for credit…

you will have to disclose that you were convicted of a “crime of dishonesty.”Your conviction for Shoplifting can have awfulconsequences to your reputation.

What Evidence Will the State Use to Prove its Case?

If you were charged with Shoplifting, the prosecutor will look for:

  • written statements from the store’s Loss Prevention employees;
  • any written statements given by other shoppers who may be witnesses;
  • the store’s video recordings; and
  • any statements you may have made to the store’s employees or to the police after you were detained.

What the prosecutor’s witnesses may say…

  • that you were seen selecting the merchandise (that you didn’t enter the store with the items, but that you picked the items after entering the store);
  • you took the items into your possession;
  • you hid or concealed the items or tried to hide the items;
  • you left the store, or tried to leave the store without paying for the items.

The Largest Retail Stores Have a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Shoplifting

Many of the largest retail department stores demand that any person caught shoplifting be prosecuted vigorously:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Target
  • JC Penney
  • Marshalls
  • Macys
  • Dillards
  • Office Depot
  • Best Buy
  • Home Depot
  • Sears
  • Publix
  • Winn-Dixie

South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being charged for shoplifting, your Florida criminal defense lawyer is your first line of defense defense. The criminal defense lawyer you choose to represent you in court andfight for your rights could be the difference between spending some time in jail or moving on with your life. Richard G. Salzman is dedicated to the aggressive representation and defense of those accused of shoplifting or retail theft. The Florida Criminal Defense Law Offices of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. is committed to provide you with the vigorous defense you need.

If you received aCivil Penalty Demand Letter, then here’s something you should know…

Once you are accused of shoplifting, the store will ask you for your contact information and then turn it over to a “Collection” law firm even if the store recovers its merchandise.That law firm will then send you a letter demanding that you pay a “civil penalty” authorized under Florida Law.

First they will demand that you pay a $200 fee within 30 days, otherwise they will bring a civil action against you. They imply that you can avoid further litigation if you pay up. Most people wrongly assume that if they pay the $200, there won’t be a criminal action against them.

If you don’t pay the $200 demanded, the law firm will send you a second letter 6 weeks later. The second demand letter is more threatening and will demand $450-$500, to be paid within 10 days. These demand letters are designed to be intimidating. You may even get phone calls from the “Collection” law firm, demanding payment.

Failure to pay rarely results in a civil lawsuit in a shoplifting case. Most of the time, a strong “cease and desist” letter from your Florida criminal defense lawyer will effectively stop further attempts by the law firm or collection agency to collect a “penalty fee.”

Often a letter from your attorney will put a stop to additional letters or phone calls from the law firm or collection agency.


Richard G. Salzman will help you understand your rights and fiercely defend them.

The Florida Criminal Defense Law Offices of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. handlesmisdemeanor shoplifting, felony shoplifting and retail theft. If you have been charged with shoplifting in South Florida and need personalized representation, The Florida Criminal Defense Law Offices of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. can offer the shoplifting defense you deserve. Our firm offers years of experience in successfully defending criminal cases throughout South Florida.

The Florida Criminal Defense Law Offices of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. is a well-respected, full service, highly qualified and professional Florida Criminal Defense Law firm located in Oaks Office Center on Sheridan Street in Hollywood, Florida with a Regional office in Naples, Florida. Richard G. Salzman is dedicated to the aggressive representation and defense of those accused of misdemeanor shoplifting or felony shoplifting or retail theft.The Florida Criminal Defense Law Offices of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. is committed to providing you with the vigorous shoplifting defense you need. We will aggressively analyze, review and address all of the legal and factual issues and defenses that may arise in your case.

When you retain The Florida Criminal Defense Law Firm of Richard G. Salzman, P.A., you can rest assured knowing that The Florida Criminal Defense Law Firm of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. will not only defend your rights, but will help to guide you through the confusing waters of the Florida criminal process. If you were charged with shoplifting, contact The Florida Criminal Defense Law Firm of Richard G. Salzman, P.A. today to discuss your case.

Right Now, Can There Be Anything More Important Than Your Freedom ?

Contact Richard G. Salzman to set up a meeting to discuss your charges and evaluate your case. Mr. Salzman’s first priority is helping you avoid a shoplifting conviction that can ruin your life!

For your FREE initial case evaluation by phone, Call 855-DUI-GONE(855-384-4663), home of South Florida’s Premier Criminal Defense and DUI Defense Law Firm. Learn how Mr. Salzman can help save your freedom.

Richard G. Salzman, Esq.
Law Offices of Richard G. Salzman, P.A.
4340 Sheridan Street, Suite102
Hollywood, FL 33021
Regional Office
5621 Strand Blvd., Suite 101
Naples, FL 34110





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