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What are the chances of being found guilty for retail theft if you put an item in your pocket, but did not leave the store?

Boynton Beach, FL |

I didn't have a cart at the time and it was easier to carry everything I needed by putting this one large item partially in my pocket. The item was still visible, but not entirely. I was arrested for retail theft on the basis that the officer found me past the point of sale. I did not pass this point willingly, LP dragged me. There was an altercation with myself and LP because I did not want them touching me. I tried to call the police when they did, and they beat me bad enough to warrant hospitalization.

Would this be a simple case to defend? The value of the semi-concealed item was less than $5. I never left the store and had not made my way to the register yet to make my purchase. I was still on the sales floor. I have an otherwise spotless record as well.

It's been almost 2 months, up to case disposition, and the state has yet to file an information sheet.

Attorney Answers 4


No case is simple to defend. No one can give you a point spread or chance analysis other than a lawyer who has thoroughly investigated the facts of the case, read the police report and viewed all the evidence.
I am shocked you haven't already consulted with a Criminal Defense lawyer, especially with your claim of being beat. I wouldn't be surprised if they elect to file other charges as well for resisting arrest. You really need a lawyer ASAP.

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I already did, and I didn't resist arrest. I cooperated completely. The guy beat me because I asked for the police to be called before I was going to go in a room with them, alone, without cameras.

Kathryn Mary Holton

Kathryn Mary Holton


ok then, work with your lawyer and I am sorry you went through such a traumatic event.


Larceny does not require that you leave the store. It is the intent to deprive the owner of the property.
Based upon the information you provided you would be well served to hire an attorney.

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I've prosecuted and won a jury trial in Palm Beach County for retail theft where the defendant didn't technically leave the store (it was Home Depot). So it is possible you will lose at trial. You need an attorney to help you defend. They should request the videotape--if it isn't already destroyed. You also might be eligible for a diversion. Good luck.

Kentucky and Florida Licensed. Free consultations. 502-424-2016. www.KYFIGHTDUI.COM Follow me on twitter: @trackmylawyer. This answer does not create a legal relationship.

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The fact that an Information has not been filed is a good sign but the State may still decide to charge you. You do not have to leave the store to be found guilty of misdemeanor petit theft. Aside from the fact that you do not want a charge on your record, this particular charge is considered a crime of dishonesty. I would consider hiring a lawyer in Boynton Beach who can get in touch with the prosecutor or their intake department and advise them of the facts and urge them not to file. The attorney will also know how to help collect evidence such as a store video that may prove that you were dragged past the point of sale. But act quickly, videos are deleted and witnesses move.

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