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Those charged in Florida shoplifting ring may face felony charges

Most Florida residents understand that crimes are divided into two main categories -- misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are those crimes with harsher penalties. A felony charge has the potential to affect a person's life immediately. People can be immediately placed under arrest, face jail time, fines, probation and other consequences.

Shoplifting may qualify as either a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the severity of the crime. In Florida, a person who shoplifts more than $300 worth of merchandise may be charged with a felony. Recently, 23 Florida residents have been charged for allegedly shoplifting more than $15 million worth of merchandise. The charges have been filed following a nine-month-long investigation.

According to reports, the investigation occurred across the state from Miami all the way to central Florida. The investigation was conducted with the help of retail stores in the state and law enforcement officials from Homeland Security Investigations, Broward Sheriff's Office, Miami-Dade Police Department and Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Prosecutors say the ring consisted of many levels including retailers that sold stolen goods. Furthermore, prosecutors say they hope these arrests will keep others from shoplifting in the future.

Those facing felony shoplifting charges in Florida should remember that these charges can have consequences and lead to punishments. They should make sure to investigate all their legal rights and determine the best way to fight against the charges. As for the 23 individuals that have been charged in this case, a solid criminal defense team may be able to help reduce the severity of the penalties that go hand-in-hand with a conviction.

Source: CBS Miami, "South Florida Cops Take Down Retail Crime Theft Ring," March 27, 2014

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