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Differences Between Shoplifting and Theft in Spotsylvania

Shoplifting differs from other theft-related offenses because of the ways a person can be convicted of shoplifting by altering price tags or helping somebody else do it as well. If an individual conceals an item or helps somebody else to conceal the item while the person is in the store, they can still be convicted of shoplifting. The difference between the way shoplifting and theft charges is going to depend on what the actual actions were.

With that said, if you are facing shoplifting charges in Spotsylvania, the use of an experienced shoplifting lawyer‘s knowledge could be invaluable to your case. A Spotsylvania lawyer can help clarify the local laws and penalties for a shoplifting charge.

Shoplifting vs. Regular Petit Larceny

Petit larceny is the title of the statute criminalizing misdemeanor theft. That is the overarching theme of larceny. Petit larceny is theft of property valued at less than $200. If a person shoplifts anything under $200, a person is technically committing petit larceny.

If a person commits petit larceny in a business, the theft is usually considered shoplifting. More importantly in the theft statute itself, there are subsections about concealing merchandise or altering the tags on merchandise.

The action of the taking is important when differentiating shoplifting from theft because the individual can actually be convicted even if they do not take the merchandise out of the store. If a person switches the tags and attempts to walk out with merchandise even if they do not leave the store, they can be charged.

Classification of Shoplifting

The distinction of shoplifting from theft is that it is just a part of petit larceny. An individual can get convicted for something other than shoplifting. The theft charge associated with shoplifting is petit larceny, but shoplifting is a colloquial term that is used to describe this catch-all part of the theft statute that covers things like concealing or altering merchandise and price tags while the person is still in the store. It just makes it easier for someone to be convicted of petit larceny if they did not actually take the items out.

Differentiating Defenses

Although there are differences between shoplifting and theft, both charges will be approached as the same offense. No matter what, someone’s petit larceny offense is going to be catered to the specific varying facts of their shoplifting or theft case.

There is not just one petit larceny defense for someone to go in and just have the script already ready. It depends on what they are claiming that the person did because there are so many ways that the individual can be accused of petit larceny for a shoplifting or theft charge.

Varying Conviction Charges

Shoplifting, unlike theft, is just a subsection of petit larceny or petit larceny itself. The type of shoplifting charge can be as simple as the difference between someone being accused of taking an item out of the store or if they are accused of taking the item from somebody’s car.

Shoplifting cases difference to theft cases is all going to depend on what the specific facts are, what the person is accused of taking, and how they are accusing the person of taking it.

For different shoplifting purposes, it just means that there are ways that the person could be convicted of petit larceny without doing the normal petit larceny things, like taking an item out of the store without walking past the point of sale. The individual could still potentially be convicted of petit larceny under the shoplifting subsection.

Importance of An Attorney

Somebody who may be facing charges for shoplifting or theft in Spotsylvania should consider hiring an attorney because, in Spotsylvania, both are taken seriously. If either charge for shoplifting or theft is not the individual’s first offense, they are almost certainly looking at some active jail time.

If the individual has a second theft or shoplifting offense on their record, they are going to want to give the person active jail time because of the alluded a pattern of criminal behavior.  That person will need a good attorney to be able to prevent and present enough mitigating evidence to prevent the person from being jailed if they are convicted or to fight their case to avoid a conviction altogether.

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