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Stafford County Shoplifting Defense

If you are facing charges, an experienced attorney can help you understand the Stafford County shoplifting defenses you may need and any potential penalties you may face. Because a conviction could leave a permanent mark on your record, it is important to do everything possible to fight the charges and mitigate the damages.

The likelihood of doing this successfully increases substantially when you work with a local, established lawyer. Together, you can discuss the penalties as well as the potential Stafford County shoplifting defense strategies in your case.

Potential Penalties

Shoplifting in Stafford County and in Virginia is treated the same as larceny. When the amount that is shoplifted is valued at less than $200, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. It is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine when the item is valued at $200 or more.

Law Enforcement Approach to Second Offenses

Second offenses are always punishable more harshly than first offenses. There is no minimum mandatory time or automatic penalty enhancement with the second offense. However, as a practical matter, courts treat second offenses more harshly. Whenever a person has a second offense, it is more likely that a judge imposes a harsh sentence including jail time.

Potential Defense Strategies

Shoplifting lawyers use a number of strategies to prepare a defense for shoplifting in Stafford County. There are unique issues of proof in shoplifting cases because all of these cases are alleged to take place in a store. The lawyer looks at video evidence that shows exactly what took place. This is an important strategy for the lawyer to use to look at evidence to make sure they understand what it shows, as it can directly affect the shoplifting penalties that ultimately get assigned, and the shoplifting defense in Stafford County arguing against them.

As with any other case, the lawyer looks for witness testimony that can help or hurt the person charged with shoplifting. There may be physical evidence on items that were taken such as fingerprints in cases where it is not clear who stole the alleged items. There can be other kinds of forensic evidence as well in some cases.

Unique Elements

Shoplifting is different from other theft charges in a couple of ways. One is that the alleged victim in a shoplifting case is always a business or a shopkeeper. It is impossible to shoplift from the home of a relative or a friend.

Shoplifting is unique because the government is not required to prove that someone physically removed property from someone else’s premises. It is enough in a shoplifting case to show that the person concealed the items, altered the price tag, or removed the price tag. This then is what the prosecution will be trying to prove as it works to convince the court to assign the harshest Stafford County shoplifting penalties available.

Building an Appropriate Defense

In a shoplifting case, there is more the attorney must be mindful of and guard against. It is not enough to claim that the item was never removed so there was no intent to steal it. The lawyer must be able to account for why an item was removed or why a price tag was adulterated. In addition, there is video evidence and testimony from a loss prevention officer that must be examined and accounted for in preparing the case.

How an Attorney Can Help with Sentencing Options

An attorney can help with probation and sentencing options in the sentencing phase of the case. The court has a number of options when determining the punishment. Counsel can argue what the sentence or probation should look like. The attorney can help their client avoid a situation where they are placed on probation by aggressively and effectively defending the case in Stafford County.

It is critical to have an attorney in a shoplifting case who can be effective in challenging the government’s evidence. The attorney can make sure that the constitutional rights of their clients were not violated. The person has the right to the advice of counsel of an experienced lawyer.

There are a number of things a person can do proactively before the case that they would not know without having counsel. There are things a person can do to harm their case that an attorney can help them guard against. It is important for someone to involve a lawyer who is experienced in these situations at every phase of their case to have the best chance for a good outcome and to minimize the negative impact.

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