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Annapolis Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting is the taking of any goods or theft of any items from any establishment that is retail in nature, with the intent to permanently to deprive that retailer of those items. Shoplifting is a form of larceny in Annapolis.

Criminal lawyers are important for shoplifting cases because, although a shoplifting charge is considered a minor offense and does not carry very significant penalties, it does carry the possibility of jail time and lengthy periods of probation. It is a charge that could carry a stigma, because theft crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which could have collateral consequences well beyond the courtroom. If a person is charged with shoplifting in Annapolis they should absolutely contact a shoplifting lawyer in Annapolis who can provide representation and defense.

Penalties for Shoplifting

Possible penalties of shoplifting include a period of incarceration, the possibility of probation, and restitution payments.

When the value of the shoplifting item is under $1,000, the crime is considered a misdemeanor; if the value is more than $1,000, the crime is considered a felony.

Depending on the kind of charge someone is dealing with, misdemeanor shoplifting could carry a period of incarceration of up to 90 days if items are valued at less than $100 and up to 18 months if the value of the item is less than $1,000. Penalties increase from there as the value goes over $1,000 and the charge becomes categorized as a felony.

Probation and Reduced Sentence Options

When theft charges are felony theft charges, they can be reduced to misdemeanor theft charges. There also is the option of probation, instead of jail time, that the court may exercise depending on the severity of the case and a person’s lack of criminal history, if there is any criminal history. An Annapolis shoplifting lawyer can push for these forms of reduced sentencing, if it does not seem that they will be able to get the charges dismissed.

Following a Second-Offense Charge

Second time offenders dealing with shoplifting cases might not be able to gain access to the same forms of alternative sentencing as a first time offender. For example, first time shoplifting offenses, particularly for misdemeanor offenses, could result in a person not being prosecuted criminally for a case and for the charges to be dismissed by way of some kind of diversion like community service.

Second time shoplifting offenders do not have access to those same programs that would allow them to have their case dismissed by way of diversion. They could face more significant penalties, such as jail time, that first time offenders usually do not face, because the court determines that the second time offender did not learn their lesson by keeping their offenses isolated.

Defense Strategies in Shoplifting Cases

When building a defense, Annapolis shoplifting lawyers look to the sufficiency of the charging documents and the sufficiency of any evidence the prosecutors try to produce such as surveillance videos. The prosecutor needs to prove that a person intentionally took items away from a retail establishment with the intent to permanently deprive that retail establishment of those items. The lawyer will determine whether the evidence the prosecutor wants to use is admissible in the criminal case to get the allegations of shoplifting against their client dismissed.

A shoplifting attorney in Annapolis will help their client by explaining to prosecutors the actual criminal charges and clarifying defenses or weaknesses the prosecution may have in their case. The lawyer highlights things that are positive about their client’s life, such as employment, education, lack of criminal history, and familial status to convince the prosecutor to consider a reduction or complete dismissal of the criminal charges brought against their client.