Montgomery County Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting is taking something from a shop or retail establishment without the permission of the owner of that establishment, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that establishment of that particular item. Although this may sound like a minor offense, shoplifting can carry a number of serious penalties making it important a Montomgery County shoplifting lawyer is contacted as soon as possible. An experienced theft attorney can assist by mitigating the damage of the offense as much as possible and ensuring the strongest defense possible is put forth on behalf of the defendant.
Montgomery County shoplifting charges carry the possibility of a period of jail time which can range anywhere from 90 days, all the way up to decades of incarceration, depending on the value of the items taken and prior criminal history. Additionally, the charges could carry up to three to five years of probation, depending on which court system is hearing the charges.
There may be collateral consequences which people might not expect to face. When somebody is dealing with a shoplifting offense, they are dealing with something called a crime of moral turpitude. What that means is the criminal charge has the element of questioning a person’s moral character.
People who are convicted of these kinds of charges could be ineligible for certain kinds of licenses, employment, travel to certain countries, and holding certain elected offices. As such, it is important to recognize that a shoplifting charge has consequences which go beyond the courtroom and consult with a shoplifting lawyer in Montgomery County to mitigate the damage as much as possible.
A prosecutor is going to need to prove that a person had an intent to permanently deprive the person they took the items from, without paying for them, and that they actually carried away those items from the particular retail establishment.
There is some case law to indicate that even a person’s concealment of items inside a retail establishment could be enough indication of shoplifting or theft. However, an argument can be made from a Montgomery County shoplifting lawyer that concealment is not a sufficient proof of intent. For example, perhaps the person was just putting them in a bag to take up to the register at the appropriate time before they left.
Importance of a Local Attorney
People might often feel that once they are caught red-handed in a shoplifting situation, it is important or appropriate for them to somehow tell police officers or investigating bodies everything that happened and confess.
This can be a very big mistake, because without recognizing the sufficiency of the evidence collected by the particular retail establishment, it is impossible to know if they will be able to prove the charges against you in court. Sometimes your statement is exactly what they need to move forward with the criminal allegations against you. Therefore, remaining silent and politely requesting to speak with an attorney before making any further comment, is extremely important for anybody who is charged with a criminal offense.
Furthermore, it is important to recognize the value of relationships between Montgomery County shoplifting attorneys and parties in the court system, whether they are prosecutors, judges, police officers, merchants or various retailers who are commonly in the courthouse.
The relationships which defense attorneys have with these parties can be extremely valuable in how a case moves through the system, how swiftly it moves through the system, and how the matter might potentially be resolved in negotiation.
Working with somebody who is local to the Montgomery County court system is extremely important in making sure you get the fairest representation in your particular shoplifting case.