Culpeper Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting in Culpeper is defined as a petty larceny offense, which involves the removal of a good from a retail establishment, meaning a store, with the intent to permanently deprive the store from ownership of that item. In general terms, shoplifting is taking something from the store, and carrying it out of that store, with the intent not to return it.
A person charged with shoplifting is facing serious long-term life consequences because shoplifting is a crime of moral turpitude. A crime of moral turpitude will present significant and long-lasting obstacles for a person attempting to secure employment, get a credit card, buy a home, or a number of other issues that can be affected by a conviction on one’s record. For that reason, you should hire a trustworthy criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible to attempt to reduce the consequences that may result from this charge. Our experienced Culpeper shoplifting lawyers are prepared to begin building your defense from our first meeting, and take pride in our efforts to protect your rights.
There may be defenses that are available to that person and delaying in hiring an attorney only serves to minimize the amount of work that the attorney can do on your case, prior to going to court. For that reason, it is important to hire an attorney, as soon as possible, to give that attorney as much time as possible to prepare your case.
How Shoplifting Differs from Other Theft Related Offenses
Shoplifting charges are unique because they require proof that a person actually left the store with an item that did not belong to them and they did not intend to pay for it. Many theft related charges do not carry those sort of elements. Additionally, it is important to know that leaving a store with an item that does not belong to you, creates a presumption under the law that you intended to steal it. The existence of this presumption makes it easier for government attorneys in Culpeper to prove their case because when a government attorney gets a presumption on their side, it shifts the burden to the defendant to present evidence that rebuts the presumption of intent.
If a person is convicted of shoplifting, the penalty depends entirely on the value of the item that was allegedly taken from the store. If the item is valued at less than $200, the charge is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. If the value of the item alleged to have been taken is greater than $200, the person will be charged with a felony and the penalty is one to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $2,500.
Consequences for a Second Time Offense
The second time shoplifting offender crime faces more serious consequences because the court is aware that the person has done this before and has not learned from it. For that reason, a person that is charged with a second offense of shoplifting almost always receives a sentence of active jail time.
Possible Probation or Other Options for the Defendant
If the government is likely to prove their case and the defense feels that going to trial would not benefit the client, they look for ways to mitigate what will happen upon conviction. Probation and a reduced sentence are options when facing theft charges and a seasoned Culpeper shoplifting attorney will know what kind of evidence to pull from the defendant’s life to show the court that what happened on the day in question was not the true indicator of the kind of person that they are. An experienced attorney will show the court that their client is the kind of person that deserves some sort of break after making this mistake.
Defense Strategy for Culpeper Shoplifting Charges
The first step that a shoplifting lawyer takes when defending an accused shoplifter is to look at the evidence. The attorney needs to know early on whether the government is going to be able to prove their case. If that is likely, the defense tries to work with their client to provide as much mitigating evidence as possible to get the client a better outcome following the conviction.
To prove shoplifting in Culpeper, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person left the store with an item that belongs to the store without paying for that item. Additionally, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was intentional.
There are many shoplifting cases where a mistake did occur and in those circumstances, it is important to establish that the person intended to pay for what was taken. This could be done in a number of ways, each of which is entirely dependent upon the facts of each case.
Role of an Attorney at an Arraignment
An arraignment is a simple process during which the court advises the person, who has been charged with a crime, what they have been charged with, their rights, and their court date. For this reason, an arraignment is what is known as a non-adversarial proceeding. A non-adversarial does not necessarily require the existence of counsel; however, having a shoplifting lawyer retained in advanced of arraignment is always beneficial to clients.
In some cases, arraignment can be waived because the client has retained counsel to assist them. In other cases, an attorney being present at the arraignment can assist all parties in selecting a firm trial date since the absence of the defendant’s lawyer could result in a schedule conflict, which would make rescheduling necessary.
Consult a Culpeper Shoplifting Attorney
Having an experienced Culpeper shoplifting lawyer by your side can help because that attorney will know exactly what the government needs to prove to obtain a conviction. That attorney will also know what pieces of evidence are admissible and which are not. The attorney will know how to best prepare any defense that might be available to you, and will be able to present you with options so that you can participate in your path forward. Call us today.