If you're accused of shoplifting when you didn't commit the crime, hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Although shoplifting or petty theft is a misdemeanor crime in the United States, it can still ruin your life. Not only can it stay on your record for five years or more, shoplifting can also damage your standing in the community. Here's a definition of petty theft and how a criminal defense attorney can help you fight it.
What's Petty Theft?
Petty theft is one of many types of crimes involving theft or larceny, which means to take someone else's personal property without their permission. In the case of petty theft, it's the taking or stealing items valued between $50-500. Each state sets its own value on shoplifting, so it's important for your criminal defense attorney to know the laws for your specific state before taking your case.
Misdemeanor or minor crimes are usually punishable by jail, time, fines and probation. If the store calls law enforcement before you have a chance to vacate the premises, police can arrest you on the spot.
You can spend a number of days in jail until law enforcement releases you, or until a judge looks over your charges and case in court.
Your past criminal history can greatly influence the outcome of your charges and potential time in jail. For example, a criminal court judge can place a harsher sentence on your case if you have:
If this is your first time in criminal court, a judge may release you after the proceedings. You'll need to return to court at a later date, preferably with a criminal defense attorney at your side. But in the mean time, the charges can affect your life in many different ways, including your employment standing and reputation.
How Does Shoplifting Affect Your Reputation and Employment?
Because shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime that involves goods and other valuables, it can affect your ability to find employment. It may also change how your current employer perceives you. For instance, if you work in retail and handle cash, checks and credit cards transactions, your employer may feel uncomfortable about letting you stay at the store.
If your shoplifting charges and arrest become known around the community, the employer may let you go to protect the store's reputation. The loss of employment and community support can create a host of financial problems, including the loss of your home and vehicle.
A criminal court attorney can help you get your life back by proving your innocence.
How Can the Attorney Prove Your Innocence?
Depending on your past criminal history and previous misdemeanor charges, you can spend one year or more in jail for petty theft. In addition, the court can make you pay restitution to the retail store that accused you of shoplifting. To prove your innocence and clear your name, the attorney may do the following things:
Subpoena the Store's Cameras
Store cameras may provide evidence of where you were in the store, as well as what you were doing, on the date in question. If someone else stole the items, or if you didn't steal anything at all, the cameras may show this.
Question the Store's Employees
If the store's employees can't give the attorney a clear description of you or what happened on the day of the alleged crime, the attorney may try to get your charges dismissed. The employees may not be credible witnesses against you.
These are just two things your lawyer may do to clear your name and free you of the shoplifting charges. The attorney will discuss your case in great detail when you meet with them.
If you have concerns about your shoplifting case, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. The faster you obtain representation, the better you may be off in the future.Share
14 May 2015
My son and a group of his friends got in some trouble for trespassing and were arrested. Every one of the boys that were there were charged with trespassing, criminal mischief and vandalism. I contacted all of the other boys' parents and we got together to discuss the situation. After hearing the boys' stories about what happened that day, we knew that we had to hire an attorney to get the boys out of some of the trouble they were in. I have been working on my blog to help other parents that are struggling with the legal system prosecuting their kids for things that they may not have done.