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Caught Shoplifting But Never Left the Store?

It can be a bit frustrating to be accused of shoplifting, when you just forgot to pay. Unfortunately, you can be convicted of petit theft just by concealing an item in the store, even if you have never left the store.

The funny thing about Florida shoplifting law (or petit theft, as we call it), is that you can get arrested for petit theft without ever leaving the store. Without ever getting to the cash register. And here's how this happens.

Basically, Florida law states that concealing an item constitutes the crime of petit theft. So, if you put some makeup in your purse, for example, even if you intended to pay for it up front--concealing the makeup in your purse will permit loss prevention to immediately stop you and under Florida law, you've just committed the crime of petit theft by concealing the item.

They don't have to wait for you to hit the cash register. Concealment is the crime here. No, they don't have to wait for you to leave the store. No, they don't have to wait for you to hit the cash register, I'm sorry to say.

And its sad because people make mistakes, but the law is clear on concealment so be careful out there. Yes, intent is a defense to petit theft, so you can beat the charge by claiming that you never intended to steal, so there is hope.

I'm John Guidry, if you're facing a shoplifting or petit theft charge in Orange, Seminole, or Osceola County, give me a call, let's see if we can help you out. Thanks for watching, take care.

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