If you're facing charges for shoplifting, you might wonder if it is worthwhile to fight the charges. The truth is, although the attorney could be expensive, having legal support might save you from a conviction and a criminal record. Although the specific legal terminology varies from state to state, there are a few common elements in shoplifting charges that can help you build a reasonable defense.
Evaluating the Arrest
Sometimes, the easiest way to fight shoplifting charges is to challenge the arrest itself. For example, if the officer who arrested you failed to follow procedure or didn't read you your rights, that may be enough to have the charges dismissed.
Additionally, if your attorney can show that the loss prevention staff of the store violated the law or your civil rights in the process, it may lead to a dismissal of charges, too. For example, cameras placed in a dressing room or restroom area can be considered illegal, and any evidence collected from them could be inadmissible in court.
Fighting the Allegations
In most courts, there are two elements to a shoplifting conviction. First, there must be clear evidence that you deliberately concealed the product or item. Additionally, it must be clear that you were going to exit the store without paying for the item.
To prove both of these things, the prosecution must show clear intent on your part. If you hire a defense attorney, he or she can attempt to fight the charge directly by arguing that there was no intent. If he or she can cast any doubt that you were actually going to leave the store, it may save you a conviction.
Another viable option for fighting the allegations is if your attorney can claim that you simply forgot to pay for the item even though you intended to purchase it. If you attempted to return the item right away when you realized you didn't pay for it, this can also cast doubt on intent.
In many shoplifting cases the loss prevention team at the store has surveillance video that is used as evidence in the case. When that video isn't available, the store must rely on witness statements in court. If this is the case for your situation, your attorney may be able to fight the charges by casting reasonable doubt on those witnesses in court.
If your attorney can show those witness statements as unreliable, biased or otherwise inaccurate, you may not be convicted. This process can be as simple as using a series of questions to show that the witness may not have had as clear a view of the situation as he or she thought, or seeking medical records to evaluate the quality of a witness' eyesight.
As you can see, there's no reason to simply accept an automatic conviction in a shoplifting case. There are several ways that you can defend yourself with the help of a reliable attorney. Contact a local attorney, like Marberry Law Firm, P.C., for more help.
Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.