Arrests are always up here in Sarasota during the holidays. Dui arrests spike because of the holiday parties but many more people get arrested for “petit theft”, shoplifting. Some people simply act out of impulse and do something that they would never do if they actually thought about it. The most common theft arrest now is for people who do not scan some of their items at checkout, often at Home Depot, Walmart or Publix. The temptation simply overcomes common sense and a few of the expensive items slip by. Many people put their finger or hand over the barcode and make it appear the item was scanned when actually the item was not. A petit theft arrest is embarrassing and can be humiliating when your photo shows up on “Mugshots.com”.
Some people out of desperation steal, but for many more, it is simply an impulse and they do it without thinking. Some people however do it for a living targeting expensive items they later sell on the Internet or on Facebook. When the item exceeds a certain amount, the arrest results in a felony charge for Grand Theft. When you have prior convictions for petit theft, sometimes the charge gets increased to Grand Theft. You can actually end up doing time in County Jail for simply doing something stupid.
As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, I can’t tell you how many times I have represented housewives, grandmothers and other “normal” people who make a mistake and give in to temptation. Most of the time, if the person has not prior arrest or conviction the case can result in “Diversion” taking the case out of the criminal court system if the person takes an “anti-theft” class. Even though petit theft is a minor offense it really helps to have a good experience lawyer. If your case is not handled properly you may end up with a conviction that will haunt you later in life when and employer runs your record before hiring you. Many times, if it is a first arrest, you can get it expunged if you don’t end up with a conviction.
It is worth a call to a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer to know your options. Most lawyers do not charge for an initial free consultation and your really should make an informed decision before simply pleading guilty. You may have a good defense. You may be totally innocent. Your arrest or your stop and search may have been illegal. Most people do not actually know their “rights”. Good people sometimes do bad things. Don’t let a simple mistake ruin your reputation.