Columbia Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting in Columbia is any act of going into a retail establishment and taking something with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it without their consent. Shoplifting and larceny are the same thing, because shoplifting is just a form of larceny.
A person charged with shoplifting in Columbia, Maryland, should hire a Columbia shoplifting lawyer because even though shoplifting charges may seem minor in nature, they carry the possibility of a period of incarceration, potential probation, and fines. Additionally, shoplifting charges are considered crimes of moral turpitude and should therefore be addressed with the help of a theft lawyer in Columbia.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude
A crime of moral turpitude is a crime that involves a person’s trustworthiness or their moral compass. While a crime of moral turpitude could be considered minor in court, it has lasting collateral consequences that could affect their ability to gain professional licenses, receive certain kinds of loans, or even obtain certain kinds of employment.
Employers are not as concerned with the fact that the individual shoplifted as they are with the fact that the criminal charge was a crime involving moral turpitude. That is a concern to any employer who wants to make sure that their employees are trustworthy before hiring them.
Penalties for Shoplifting
The shoplifting laws are outlined by Md. Statute 7-104 which covers all theft offenses including shoplifting-related crimes or theft in different capacities. When someone is convicted of shoplifting, the charges depend on the value of the items taken. The person could be facing felony charges if the value is more than $1,000 or misdemeanor charges if the value is less than $1,000. The charges carry the possibility of a period of incarceration, significant fines, and probation making it important a shoplifting attorney in Columbia is contacted as soon as possible.
Difference Between Shoplifting and Theft Defenses
Shoplifting defenses and other theft-related defenses are actually not very different. Each case has different arguments that a Maryland shoplifting attorney makes as to the sufficiency of the evidence. With shoplifting cases that are theft-related, there may be more information like surveillance video, particularly from larger retail establishments. In simple theft cases, where one person steals from another person, those videos might not be available.
Shoplifting defenses are a bit more difficult to make when it comes to larger retail establishments. When there is surveillance video, defense is more about admissibility of evidence as opposed to what the evidence actually shows. This is defensive strategy that would be very difficult to employ without the assistance of a Columbia shoplifting lawyer.
In other theft cases where one person alleges a theft against another, those cases have more to do with the credibility of the witness. There may be a bias on the person’s part and some history of the relationship between the parties that might show a finder of fact whether or not a theft took place beyond a reasonable doubt.
Benefit of Legal Representation
A shoplifting attorney in Columbia can make sure that their client is completely versed in all of the information provided during the course of discovery. The lawyer can assist them in additional investigations to discover information that might tend to prove they are not guilty of the charges brought against them that the prosecutor may have missed when trying to build a case against them.