A Guide To Shoplifting Charges

If you get caught for shoplifting, you're probably staring down an upcoming criminal trial. Here is some information about shoplifting charges so that you know what to expect.

The Penalties Are Varied

The consequences of a shoplifting offense vary based on the severity of the crime. For small and low value items, a fine may be all that's imposed. For larger items that have a high value to the store, a felony is a possible consequence. And for multiple-time offenders, the consequences will start to mount.

There Are Several Defenses

Before you resign yourself to the consequences of a shoplifting offense, there are several things that you can do to try to defend yourself.

First, your judge may look at whether you truly intended to conceal the item in order to shoplift it.  A great criminal lawyer could help you to argue that you intended to pay for the item. You may also be able to cast reasonable doubt that you were on your way to return the item to the store after realizing that you had accidentally shoplifted.

At the same time, even if you are convicted of shoplifting by a judge, you can leverage your past in order to get reduced penalties. If this is your first criminal offense, then you should try to argue for a lighter monetary fine and steer away from the felony. It helps to present yourself as a respectable citizen who didn't actually intend to shoplift, but simply made a mistake and forgot to pay for an item.

A Lawyer Is Valuable

Considering the potential penalties of a criminal shoplifting charge and the various defenses that you can provide, it's easy to see how a criminal lawyer is a must with a shoplifting trial. If you're looking at anything more than a petty theft offense for your trial, the cost of a lawyer is worth protecting your reputation. Having a felony on your record could cost you a lot more in the long run if it affects your eligibility for jobs, credit applications, and other sources of opportunity.

When you're trying to hire a good criminal lawyer, it's important to go over your story and ask the lawyer how they could potentially help. The lawyer should be able to point out your potential defenses and how they would pursue them. Choosing the right lawyer is an essential boost in a criminal shoplifting case. For more information, contact local professionals like Alexander & Associates, P.C.