Everyone Should Learn a Little about Law
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Everyone Should Learn a Little about Law

While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!


Everyone Should Learn a Little about Law

Tips for Defending Yourself Against Shoplifting Charges

Kaylee Wells

Shoplifting charges may not seem like a big deal, but they can be a serious hindrance to your future. If you were recently arrested for shoplifting, don't dismiss the charges as not worthy of fighting. In fact, fighting a shoplifting charge is important, because it could save you from a criminal conviction on your record. Here are a few things you should know about fighting shoplifting charges, including a few ways your criminal defense attorney can help.

Why Bother to Fight the Charges?

Shoplifting isn't such a minor charge. When you have a shoplifting conviction on your record, it can tell potential employers that you are not trustworthy. This may cost you the opportunity at many different jobs. Most employers hesitate to hire anyone with a criminal conviction like shoplifting, because it puts their company at risk of theft. Remember that any kind of criminal conviction can show up on a background check when a would-be employer or potential landlord runs one. Even a 'no contest' plea has the potential to show up on the reports, so even if it saves you a trial, it will cost you over time.

How Can You Fight the Charges?

The good news is that there are many different ways to fight shoplifting charges. Although every state has their own specific laws, sometimes with different terminology and guidelines, the basics of the defense will still remain the same. Here are a few different methods that you can consider.

  • Fight the Actual Allegation—In most situations, the courts will require at least two things to find you guilty of shoplifting. The first is evidence that you willfully concealed the object in question. The second is that there was clear intent to leave the store with that object without paying. Since these both require proving clear intent, you can often fight these charges with a defense that you didn't have any intention of shoplifting. If your attorney can prove that you simply forgot to pay for the object or that you turned around right away in an attempt to make it right, that may be enough to prevent a conviction.
  • Dispute the Arrest Itself—Sometimes even a veteran police officer can make a mistake during an arrest. When that happens, you might find that the mistake works in your favor. If you weren't read your Miranda rights or the officer deviates from the legal arrest procedures, your defense attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed in court. The same holds true for the in-store loss prevention officers. If they use surveillance methods that are beyond the scope of the law, your attorney may call attention to this in court, as evidence obtained illegally is not typically permissible.
  • Challenge the Witnesses—Although most shoplifting cases are filed with the support of in-store video surveillance, sometimes the case may be supported by testimony from witnesses. If the prosecutors have witnesses that are testifying against you, your attorney will likely look into the validity of their stories as well as their legal histories. If any of the witnesses are less than reliable or have a questionable past, your attorney may be able to cast doubt on their recollection of the events.

Shoplifting charges don't always mean an automatic criminal conviction, even if there's video evidence. As you can see from these defense tips, it's important that you fight the charges in any situation. Talk with your criminal defense attorney today about the options available to you before you go to court. For more information or assistance in your case, contact criminal law firms such as Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP.