Under most state laws, retail theft – also referred to as shoplifting – happens when a person knowingly takes goods from a business. Although retail theft can happen in a number of ways, the two most common ways this occurs is:
· Taking merchandise from a business without paying for it
· Exchanging the packaging of one item with the packing of another, lower-priced item in order to get the item at the lower price.
If you have been accused of retail theft, do not panic. Contact a criminal defense attorney to find out how they can help. They will evaluate your case and determine what the best defense against these charges may be.
Although each case is different, there are some similar circumstances in many cases where a person has been wrongly accused of shoplifting. These may include:
The person did not intend to take the item: In any criminal prosecution, intent is one of the key elements that a prosecutor must prove in order for a defendant to be convicted. This means that the prosecutor must prove that the person knowingly too the item without intending to pay for it. If the accused can show that they accidentally walked out of the store with the item that they did not pay for, the charge can be dismissed. For example, a person shopping is looking at an item when they receive an emergency phone call from a family member and immediately leave the store with the item in their hand without even realizing it because they are too upset by the call. One of the ways a shoplifting attorney can prove this defense is by using footage from the store’s own security cameras.
The person was unaware that the friend they were with was committing retail theft: It is not uncommon when a person is caught shoplifting for the store security personnel to detain anyone that person is in the store with. This is because it is not uncommon for people committing retail theft to work in “partnership” with others. For example, as one person is switching price tags, the other person serves as a lookout to make sure they are not caught. However, a retail theft attorney knows that just because one person is committing retail theft, that does not mean the friend or family member shopping with them was aware of the shoplifter was doing.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you have been charged with shoplifting or retail theft, contact a law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced retail theft attorney. They would be happy to discuss your legal options with you and, if you decide to retain their legal services, craft a defense tailor made to suit the facts of your case. A shoplifting conviction can negatively impact your life for years to come so take a step towards protecting your legal interests today and contact a law firm.