Monday, December 19, 2011

Theft Offenses in Pinellas County Increase During the 2011-2012 Holiday Season

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses how local police agencies increase enforcement during the 2011-2012 holiday season.

Issue:

A larger number of theft crimes, including armed robbery and shoplifting, have been reported throughout Florida within the past few weeks.  The Tampa Police Department and Cocoa Beach Police both report they expect to see more robberies, burglaries and retail theft than normal during the holiday season.

According to the Cocoa Beach police, many people shoplift and steal during the holidays in order to solve their money problems, such as financial hardship and job loss.  The police departments also state many alleged shoplifting and robbery offenses involve some form of drug abuse or use.

The Brevard County Sheriff’s department reports that robberies have already increased over the same time last year, from 123 holiday robberies total last year to 143 robberies so far this year.



Why This Matters To You:

Increased robberies and shoplifting offenses throughout Florida lead to increased security and more law enforcement officers looking for theft offenders.

Shoplifting or retail theft in Florida can lead to felony and misdemeanor convictions, which are punishable by jail or prison sentence and/or fines.  For example, first degree misdemeanor retail theft is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Burglary and robbery offenses in Florida can lead to even greater penalties.  Burglary is punishable as a felony of the first degree, second degree or third degree conviction.  Each of these burglary offenses can result in a prison sentence and/or a steep fine.  Armed robbery offenses are punishable as a felony of the first degree, which can result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of ten years, and a general robbery offense is punishable as a felony of the second degree.


What To Do Next:

If you have been charged with shoplifting, burglary or robbery in Tampa, contact a St. Petersburg Theft Defense Lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss you case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing alleged theft offenders throughout Pinellas County the entire Tampa Bay, FL area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Largo, Dunedin and Bradenton).