Theft encompasses a broad range of stealing, from petty theft to aggravated robbery to white-collar crimes such as embezzlement. While they all differ in form and severity, all have the potential for harming your future in many ways, especially with maintaining or finding employment.
Shoplifting is no exception. Even when the goods are of low value, having shoplifting on your record can be a problem. You may be able to use one of the following defenses to achieve a favorable outcome.
Naturally, the first defense is that the accusations of shoplifting are false. The incorrect conclusion may have been a result of any of the following instead:
- Someone else put something in your bags.
- Security mistook you for the real shoplifter.
- Loss prevention personnel were trying to meet an arrest quota.
- The store wanted the profits that come with demanding offenders to pay civil penalties in exchange for not prosecuting.
A strong legal defense can cast doubt on any evidence not in your favor.
No intent to steal
You may believe that evidence against you means a done deal, but for shoplifting charges to hold up, the prosecution must prove your intent was to steal. Maybe you just made an honest mistake of forgetting to check something out at the counter. For example, maybe you were going to try some clothing on but had to take an important phone call outside for privacy or reception reasons, forgetting you were still holding merchandise. You should not suffer harsh punishment for an unintentional error that you can easily rectify by apologizing and paying for the item.
Whenever you commit a crime for the first time, you have a higher chance of being able to reduce or eliminate the charges through negotiation with the prosecutor. A clean record can help prove your innocence or show that agreeing to corrective measures (such as community service or a behavioral course) will be enough to prevent the incident from happening again.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your situation and discuss your legal options.