Is Shoplifting the Same as Petty Theft?

Is Shoplifting the Same as Petty Theft?

While the charges might seem similar, there is a slight distinction to make between shoplifting and petty theft. According to Florida law, shoplifting regards retail theft specifically.

Examples of shoplifting include:

  • Taking the property of a merchant
  • Altering labels or price tags
  • Transferring merchandise from one container to another
  • Removing a shopping cart
  • Intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, full retail value, or benefit of a product

Petty theft, on the other hand, involves taking or using someone else’s property through criminal intent. The person who takes the object or assets of another does it knowingly with the intent to deprive the other person, temporarily or permanently, of the right to the property.

Potential Penalties for Shoplifting & Petty Theft in Florida

Both charges can vary in degree depending on the property value of the item(s) that was stolen. Fines and jail time can also increase depending on the kind of goods taken. For example, in shoplifting a firearm, a person could be charged with third-degree grand theft, which is a third-degree felony. Someone accused of a felony could face fines up to $5,000 and from 60 days to 1 year in jail. A more severe shoplifting charge could be first-degree grand theft, which is a first-degree felony. Sentences could include fines of up to $10,000 and a prison term of up to 30 years if the value of the property was more than $100,000 or damage to property during the theft exceeded $1,000 in value.

Accused of Shoplifting? Contact Owenby Law, P.A. Now

If you’ve been accused of either shoplifting or petty theft, make sure you have an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney on your side. You could stand to lose thousands of dollars in fines and court fees in addition to having the conviction on your criminal record. With a qualified attorney on your case, you may stand a better chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed. Backed by more than a decade of experience, we serve the needs of Florida clients in Jacksonville, Orange Park, St. Augustine, and Fleming Island.

Contact us at (904) 770-3141 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation today. We look forward to defending your rights and freedom.


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