Woodbridge Shoplifting Penalties
Penalties for a Woodbridge shoplifting charge vary. If the merchandise was valued at less than $200, then the charge is petty larceny which is a class-1 misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If the value of goods taken from the store exceeded $200, then the charge might be a felony larceny or grand larceny, the punishment for which is 1-20 years in prison.
Further, if a person has a prior shoplifting or other theft-related crime on their criminal record, they can expect the punishment for a shoplifting crime to be more severe. Prosecutors are always more aggressive when it comes to repeat offenders and seek much more active jail time than they would for first offenders.
Prince William County does not offer probation or reduced sentencing options when facing shoplifting charges. A Woodbridge shoplifting lawyer can aim to obtain a more favorable outcome by presenting mitigation evidence in court.
Preparing a Defense
The first step an attorney takes in order to prevent shoplifting penalties is to collect the version of the events from the defendant. The next step is to predict exactly what the government’s version of the facts will be.
Once the attorney has both versions of the events on file, they will begin preparing a defense by looking to see what inconsistencies might exist between the government’s version of the facts and the client’s version of the facts.
The facts and circumstances surrounding an individual case determine what defense strategy might work best. In some cases, the theft might not have been completed and the person never left the store. In other cases, the theft may have been completed, but it was an accident.
In either of those cases, factual evidence obtained from the client or from other means can help prove that a mistake took place, thereby preventing the government from proving criminal intent to steal beyond a reasonable doubt.
Contacting an Attorney
A person should contact an attorney immediately upon being charged because there might be evidence that we need to acquire in order to prepare an adequate defense. Sometimes, that evidence takes time to get as you may need to issue subpoenas. Giving your lawyer as much time as possible to compile all necessary evidence in your case is absolutely critical to your success at trial.
Benefits of a Local Attorney
Hiring somebody who is intimately familiar with the Prince William County court system is critical to your possible success when you’re facing shoplifting penalties in Woodbridge. This is because a local attorney will be more familiar with the judges and prosecutors who will be managing your case. That can help because the attorney will know those prosecutors’ and judges’ tendencies and things that have worked in the past with those prosecutors and judges.