Petit Theft & Retail Theft
PETIT THEFT & RETAIL THEFT
If you have been charged with petit or retail theft it is probably because the police accused you of shoplifting. Usually, the arrest follows a detention at a store by a loss prevention officer. Fortunately, this charge could be a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the merchandise, punishable by up to one year in jail. If the value of the merchandise is over $300, then you could be facing a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The chances of you serving any jail sentence, however, for petit or retail theft are minimal. Nevertheless, there are consequences that you should keep in mind if you are arrested for shoplifting. These consequences include a criminal conviction, suspension of your driver’s license and if you are not a citizen you could face deportation.
In order for the prosecutors to convict you of retail theft, the prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly:
took possession of or carried away merchandise;
altered or removed a label or price tag from merchandise;
transferred merchandise from one container to another; or
removed a shopping cart from a merchant's premises.
Additionally, the prosecutors need to prove that you intended to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value of the merchandise.
A key issue in retail theft cases is that you must have acted “knowingly." That means that you acted with actual knowledge and understanding of the facts or the truth. Moreover, the act must have been done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident or other innocent reason. In other words, the prosecutors must disprove that someone concealed the item on you or your person without your knowledge or that you unintentionally walked away with the merchandise from the store.
Fortunately, in Miami, these cases are relatively easy to resolve when you hire Erick Cruz to represent you. Erick knows how to defend these cases and obtain favorable results that will prevent a criminal conviction and future consequences. First, Erick will make sure that the prosecutors comply with their discovery obligations and will demand that the prosecutors turn over all evidence that they have against you. This may include video surveillance from the stores and reports from officers.
After reviewing the evidence and evaluating the case, Erick will explore how to get the charges against you dismissed. Typically, for first time offenders, the dismissal of the charges comes after you enter into and successfully complete a first offender program. Upon completion of the program and having the charges dismissed, you may be eligible to have your case sealed or expunged. This will prevent a private employer from discovering your arrest and will allow you to legally deny the arrest on a job application.
If this is not your first arrest, don’t despair, Erick will still try to find a way to have the case against you dismissed or at the very minimum obtain a reduced sentence and avoid jail time. Typically, even if you have previously been arrested, Erick will be successful in convincing the prosecutors to resolve the case without jail or probation and usually agree to impose a minimal fine.
Call Erick Cruz anytime to discuss your case with him and find out how to get your case dismissed or sentence reduced and arrest record sealed or expunged.
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