A shoplifting charge differs from other theft-related offenses because shoplifting always involves a business. Due to this factor, there is more likely to be some type of surveillance involved, whether that is from video or a cashier, which makes building a robust defense for these charges even more imperative.
In this regard, having a Vienna shoplifting lawyer, who is familiar with the area and experienced in similar cases, is very important. An attorney can serve as an advocate for the defendant and can prevent them from making any admissions or giving the prosecution any evidence that can be used against them in court.
The initial step that a shoplifting lawyer would take in preparing a defense would be to find out what happened from the client’s perspective. This includes having the defendant recall anything that they saw, heard, said, or did. It is important to find out who they talked to and to follow up with that person to find out what that person will say against the defendant in court. A shoplifting attorney will also review any video or audio surveillance that was recorded by the business, review reports completed by law enforcement and/or loss prevention officers, and any signed statements by the defendant.
In addition, one of the common strategies that experienced shoplifting lawyers will use when preparing a defense in Virginia is attacking the elements of a shoplifting charge. This could mean attacking the whether the person actually took an item, willfully concealed the item, or altered the price tag on an item with the intention to take it away.
Receiving probation or a reduced sentence depends on a person’s criminal record and the facts of their case. If they do not have a criminal record and the value of the item that they are alleged to have taken is relatively low, they may be a good candidate for their attorney to negotiate a first offender disposition, which is an alternative arrangement whereby their case is dismissed after they successfully complete probation, community service, or a program. In addition to their background, their eligibility for that option is dependent on the evidence against them. The reduction of a misdemeanor charge to a dismissal or a felony charge to a misdemeanor charge could also be an option depending on the facts of the person’s case and their criminal record.
Besides being able to build a strong defense for Vienna shoplifting charges, at a person’s arraignment, an attorney is will be there to set a court date and get a clear record of the charges, which are read during the proceeding. The attorney will stand by the defendant’s side during the process and ensure that they understand the questions asked so that they can respond appropriately. The attorney will also ensure that the prosecution is aware that the person is represented so that she or he does not contact them or otherwise get information out of them moving forward.
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