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Richmond Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting is a Class 1 misdemeanor in the State of Virginia, which means that if convicted, it will stay on a person’s permanent criminal record. This will greatly impact both current and future employment and even housing situations.

No matter how small the item may have been, this charge should never be taken lightly, because the repercussions of a shoplifting conviction can be much larger. Penalties can carry up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. To understand these charges in more detail, get in touch with a Richmond theft lawyer.

Differences Between Shoplifting and Petit Larceny

Shoplifting and petit larceny are basically the same charge in Richmond and involves taking property that does not belong to you from a place of business with the intent to permanently deprive that business of the item. Any item over $5 that you conceal, remove, or alter on a price tag with intent to permanently deprive the business owner is considered larceny.

Shoplifting can also be charged if you alter the prices on an item or you attempt to conceal an item while you are in the store. Both carry up to 12 months in jail, are criminal offenses, and carry up to a $2,500 fine.

Potential Consequences of a Shoplifting Charge

If a person is charged with a shoplifting misdemeanor, they could face a possible jail sentence and high fine. In addition, it could have a significant impact on their ability to obtain and retain employment. Conviction on a Richmond shoplifting charge or a larceny charge is a crime of moral turpitude, which can have a very significant impact on someone’s job search. Shoplifting is considered a felony if the amount in question is over $200.

A second time offender is less likely to receive any sort of alternative sentencing in Virginia. Also, with a second offense case, they are more likely to receive a jail sentence in the state of Virginia.

How Shoplifting Differs from Other Charges

Shoplifting differs from other theft-related offenses in that with shoplifting cases typically deal with smaller-ticket items $200 that usually result in misdemeanor charges. If it is a first time offense and the individual has never been in any sort of trouble before, shoplifting charges are typically reduced or even dismissed.

A shoplifting defense in Richmond can differ from other theft-related defenses in that sometimes it is harder for the prosecution to show intent. Sometimes an attorney can claim that an individual was unaware that the item was in their possession or if the item had a small value, get the prosecutors to consider alternative sentencing or first offender type of treatment.

Probation and Reduced Sentences

With a shoplifting case, if it is a first offense, an attorney can typically work out some arrangement so that the charge does not result in a conviction or results in a conviction for a lesser or alternative charge. For example, for a first offender issue in some jurisdictions like Richmond, they will ask you to complete a shoplifting school and do community service.

Once you complete the community service, they will consider dismissing the charge or amending it to an offense like trespass or disorderly conduct which does not come with the same implications as a larceny charge.

What the Prosecution Must Prove in a Richmond Shoplifting Case

A prosecutor needs to show that you did not own the item and that you took actions to remove the item, conceal the item, or alter the price of the item with the intent to deprive the owner of that item.

The elements of the crime of shoplifting include showing that you took an item that did not belong to you, altered the price of an item, or concealed an item with the intent to permanently deprive that business of the item. It is a very basic standard of proof for the prosecution in the case. The owner in a Richmond shoplifting case is the store.

Preparing a Defense Against Richmond Shoplifting Charges

In preparing a defense to a shoplifting charge in Richmond, the attorney is going to attempt to show that you did not intend to steal the item, that you actually own the item, and that there was some sort of mistake. For example, an item in a shopping cart that you did not realize was there, can be refuted to prove intent.

In a shoplifting case, a lawyer is going to find out what evidence the prosecution has. In other words, they want to know if there was a signed statement provided by the defendant, if the issue was caught on video, and if the individual made any statements to the store or to law enforcement regarding what occurred.

Typically, attorneys are going to try to proceed with an agreement for a reduction or a possible dismissal particularly if it is a first offense. The attorneys, in many cases, will be able to work an arrangement with the prosecutors where an individual does community service or a shoplifting school in exchange for a reduction or dismissal.

Hiring a Local Richmond Shoplifting Attorney

If someone is charged with shoplifting in Richmond, it would benefit them greatly to hire a local attorney. They are going to want an attorney that is aware of the alternative sentencing options available in Richmond, that is aware of the judges in Richmond and what their positions are on these charges, and that knows how to negotiate with the various prosecutors throughout Richmond.

A person should contact a Richmond shoplifting attorney almost immediately after they are charged. They will want to start preparing a defense and take steps toward mitigating a punishment as soon as possible. At a person’s arraignment, an attorney will advise the court that they are retained, they will also move to set the matter for trial, and in some cases, they will argue for a bond if a bond is not previously  been set.

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