Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shoplifting - Explained

Retail theft, or as it is commonly called Shoplifting, is a serious criminal charge. Although the penalties may vary, based on the value of the item allegedly taken, the long term consequences (beyond the sentence imposed by the court) can be detrimental to you, to your family and to your future.

Should You Hire an Attorney?

This is a question I get more times than I can count. Let me put it to you this way - if you even think that you might need an attorney - you need an attorney.

Sure, on its face, a Shoplifting charge may seem like a small matter.  However, there is more to it that meets the eye; because, although you may just get a slap on the wrist from the judge - know this --- any conviction for Theft can remain on your criminal record - forever.

What this means is that "small matter" isn't really so small - right?  Envision looking for a job, applying for a scholarship, renting an apartment or any other situation someone might do a simple background check on you - does it seem so "small" now?  And heaven forbid, you should face a similar-type accusation in the future.  Seriously, if that does turn out to be the case, not only is your creditability brought into question - because who is going to listen to a person with a prior Theft conviction - you could also be risking some serious jail time.

So, back to the question of whether you should have an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney on your side, fighting for you if you're charged with Shoplifting?  The answer is simple - right?

Can a Shoplifting Charge Be Beat?

As a former prosecutor, I've seen these cases from the inside.  I appreciate how hard it is for the government to prove that an individual is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. And, those circumstances can be exploited - to your advantage.

Although the specifics of a good defense depend on the facts of your case, generally speaking, there are any number of different defense strategies one can employ against these charges. For example, a motion can be brought to have the case dismissed for a lack of evidence or to have certain evidence dismissed because your constitutional rights were violated.  Also, a thorough examination can be done of the evidence gathered against you, and the individuals making those who collected that evidence and/or made accusations asserting that you in fact stole. 

On the odd chance that the facts aren't necessarily on our side, the challenge does not end there.  I have negotiated many settlement agreements and I've been successful in getting the charges and/or the fines reduced. 

An attorney can look out for your best interests, he can argue for leniency and he can make sure that a minor mistake doesn't have to follow you around for the rest of your life.

What Should You do?

As with any case, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is your best ally.  He or she can fight to preserve your right and your future.  He can pour through the government's evidence and help develop the best defense strategy possible.  He can also be you voice when working out a deal with the government - if it comes to that. 

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