Friday, December 5, 2014

Just how far some guys will go just to get a little tongue inside of their pants... / Petit Theft / Retail Theft / Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED / **305DUI

Meet 44 y/o Jason Puckett of DeLand, Florida. Yes, that's him below....

Jason was arrested on Monday, December 1st, 2014 for petit theft for attempting to steal $35.00 worth of beef tongue from a Daytona Beach, FL Walmart.

Store "loss prevention officers" allegedly observed Jason slip two packages of tongue into his waistband as he perused the meat aisle cooler.  Walmart security remained stealthily behind Jason, only approaching him as he went to exit the store.  Upon being confronted Jason denied stealing anything, claiming that he had placed the meat back on a shelf, but then Jason removed the tongue from his pants and ran from the store.  Police caught him promptly.

Memo to Jason:  

When I think of tongue in pants the visual is, well, quite different.

Memo to the folks:  Retail theft basically occurs when one intentionally removes items from a store without first paying.  Intent is an essential element of the offense, but, even where the "taking" is unintentional (i.e. a true, honest to goodness accident), you can still be charged.

Many stores have "loss prevention officers", whom are security guards that serve as "private property police".  Unless they are sworn law enforcement officers (i.e. off duty cops) they have no arrest powers, but they can (and if they wish they will) detain you until the cops do arrive and take a police report.  In Florida, so long as the value of the property is under $300.00 the theft is "petit", it is a misdemeanor, and unless the theft occurred IN THEIR PRESENCE (they have to physically observe it, as opposed to being called after the fact) Florida cops cannot take you to jail and are limited to giving you a "PTA / NTA" (promise / notice to appear) in Court at a later date.  If the value of the property is over $300.00 then the crime is a felony and physical arrest and booking into the jail are mandatory.

Further, in Florida, retailers are statutorily entitled to seek monetary relief from folks for acts civil theft.  However, in order for a retailer to get the penalty, the retailer must first be able to prove (by clear and convincing evidence) that they were injured by your theft.  The statute (see F.S. 772.11) authorizes the retailer to seek a minimum of $200 in damages, but to do so you either have to succumb to their demand (i.e. voluntarily pay them) or they (the retailer) will have to file a civil lawsuit, which will cost them hundreds just to file, and then hundreds or even thousands more to prosecute their claim.  

In Florida, such a civil demand letter from a retailer to you is essentially an offer to settle a potential civil lawsuit for $200.00 (or more), a lawsuit which is not yet and which may never actually be filed. That said, and again in Florida, whether or not you pay is both a civil and a personal, not a criminal defense, related question. 

In the meantime, if you get detained (by loss prevention  or the cops) or arrested (physically or P/NTA'd), then remember:

Since 1991 Michael A. Haber, P.A. has an unblemished record of providing boutique criminal defense litigation services to many folks who have been accused of criminality. 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. has creatively, effectively and zealously represented clients on a wide variety of criminal matters ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder. 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!  At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "its all about reasonable doubt"!

1-888-SHARK-8-1, 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

Like @ / Follow @ / Twitter @Sharky910 / Call @ **ARRESTED or **305DUI

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