What is retail theft in Florida?

The crime of Retail Theft is classified as both a Misdemeanor and a Felony in the state of Florida. The classification is dependent upon the value of the items removed from the owner’s possession.

This offense occurs when a person:

The offense of Retail Theft occurs when a person:

  1. Takes merchandise or property;
  2. Alters or removes a product;
  3. Transfers merchandise into another container; or
  4. Removes a shopping cart. 

with the intent of depriving the merchant of possession, use or retail value of that item.

Defenses to Retail Theft:

  •  Lack of Intent (ex: mislabeled product or confusion over payment) [1][3]
  • Abandoned the Attempt (ex: Defendant goes into a store with the intent to steal, but decides not to do so and leaves before taking anything).   [2]
  • Defendant claims superior ownership or possession rights of the property.  [4]

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Glenn M. Swiatek for a Free Initial Consultation in Destin, Shalimar, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach and other areas of Northwest Florida

If you have been arrested or believe you will soon be arrested for the offense of retail theft in Destin, Shalimar, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach or other areas of Northwest Florida please call us today at (850) 609‑0940 or contact us online.

Initial Office Consults are free, and I will make myself available to suit your schedule. Get the peace of mind that an attorney with over twenty-three years of criminal law experience can bring.


  1. C.G. v. State, 981 So. 2d 1224 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008).
  2. McClover v. State, 217 So. 3d 96 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2017). 
  3. Rimondi v. State, 89 So. 3d 1059 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012).
  4. In re Standard Jury Instructions In Civil Cases-Report No. 09-01 (Reorganization of the Civil Jury Instructions), 35 So. 3d 666, 763 (Fla. 2010).