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Shoplifting from Disney? What are the penalties?

Caught shoplifting from Disney World or Epcot and want to know what penalties you may be facing? If you or a loved on get caught allegedly stealing you face Petit Theft or Grand Theft Charges depending on the value of the amount that was alleged to have been taken. If you are accused of taking less than one hundred dollars of merchandise you face a second degree misdemeanor called Petit Theft. The maximum penalty for this charge is six months probation, sixty days in jail or up to a five hundred dollar fine. If you are accused of taking more than 100 dollars worth of stuff but less than 300 dollars, you may be charged with a first degree misdemeanor Petit Theft charge. The maximum penalty for this charge is one year probation, one year jail or up to one thousand dollar fine. If you are caught taking more than three dollars worth of Disney property, you can be charged with a Grand Theft. The maximum penalty for a Grand Theft is five years probation, five years prison or a 5,000.00 dollar fine. If you are convicted, the judge is required to suspend your drivers license as well.

OK I UNDERSTAND WHAT THE MAXIMUM PENALTIES WHAT AM I REALLY FACING?

Fortunately for most people arrested or issued a notice to appear for theft from Disney do not face the maximum penalties. If you are first offender, you may be eligible for a PTD or diversion program where you can get your charge dropped and avoid a license suspension. You them may be eligible to expunge your record as long as you have no other convictions on your record! If you have a prior criminal record you may be able to still avoid jail or prison and resolve your case with a fine, classes, community service and in some cases probation.

HOW CAN A CRIMINAL LAWYER HELP ME?

A criminal lawyer experienced in theft cases can help in several ways. A theft attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, try to get you into a diversion program or if you have a prior criminal record work to see if you can avoid a conviction on your record so you can avoid losing your drivers license. In our experience, we have often helped people by explaining the personal circumstances behind our clients life and give the prosecutor or judge the "human" reasons our clients made a mistake. In other cases, a lawyer can raise defenses to the theft charge such as the following:

  • The person did not intend to steal but was distracted because of his or her children:
  • The person was called by her family outside of the store and ran out and forgot to pay for the item without an intent to steal;
  • Mistaken Identity;
  • Another individual but not our client was involved with the theft;
  • Bad memory;
  • The person put the item in her bag thinking she would pay for it but just forgot; and
  • Other defenses.

Believe it or not, many people do not always intent to take an item but can make an honest mistake and yet they are still arrested or charged with theft.

WHAT NEXT?

If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, take a pause, relax and examine your options. Find good legal counsel who you can rely upon. Yes theft charges can destroy a career or ruin chances for a young student to proceed in life but with proper guidance, we have found many good people can put these charges safely behind them and move on with their lives.

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