Shoplifting doesn't sound like the most serious criminal charge, but a conviction can result in a variety of punishments. Depending on the value of the property, prison time is even possible.
There is no right or wrong way to challenge a shoplifting charge. Your defense strategy is based largely on the details surrounding your arrest.
Here are some of the most common shoplifting defense strategies:
- Challenge the act: A shoplifting crime typically has two elements. The first is the intentional concealing of an item listed for sale. The second is the intent to remove the item from the store without paying for it. You may be able to avoid a conviction by arguing that you didn't intend to steal the item, but instead forgot to pay for it.
- Challenge witnesses: There are times when a shoplifting case is based largely on video evidence, but this doesn't always hold true. Instead, it comes down to eyewitness accounts, which aren't always accurate. For example, a store employee may state that they saw you shoplifting, but after some prodding in court, their story isn't nearly a reliable as they thought.
- Negotiate a deal with the prosecutor: This is something for your shoplifting defense attorney to discuss with you. There are many ways to approach this, such as negotiating a plea deal that allows you to avoid the most serious charges and punishment. Your attorney can also look into taking steps to get your arrest expunged.
What to do if you're accused of shoplifting
If you're accused of shoplifting, it's important to remain calm. Here are some steps to take:
- Ask the store employee or security officer to explain what's happening
- Explain your situation
- Don't scream or get physical
Sometimes, all you have to do is provide an explanation to the store employee about what happened. For example, if you accidentally walked out without paying for an item, let them know that and return it promptly.
With a shoplifting charge having the potential to alter your life in many ways, don't hesitate to learn more about your legal rights in Texas and the defense strategy that can help you avoid a conviction.
Browse our website and blog for more detailed information regarding shoplifting and other theft-related crimes.