The unauthorized removal or theft of merchandise from a retail store without payment is considered shoplifting. It also involves acts such as removing theft-prevention devices, concealing items, using unauthorized credit cards or bad checks for payment, and manipulating price tags that prove the intent of theft.
If you have been accused of shoplifting, consult a criminal defence lawyer Vancouver immediately to help you understand your rights and the legal process regarding your case.
Steps to take when caught shoplifting
Any statements you make after being caught can be used against you by legal authorities. It is important to be silent to avoid disclosing any information that can harm your case. Do not admit any guilt or confess to the crime and avoid answering any questions asked to you by the authorities without your lawyer.
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Acting aggressively or offensively can result in damage to your case. Be polite and do not fight with the authorities verbally or physically. Do not leave the store’s premises. While you exercise your right to be silent, ensure that you are honest and do not give away false information about yourself, such as your identity.
Consult a lawyer.
Navigating the legal system can be complex without the support of a skilled lawyer. The laws vary depending on the state and can lead to you paying fines, restitution, and serving jail time. Factors such as the value of the shoplifted item and repeated offenses can result in harsher punishments.
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A lawyer can help minimize or drop your charges by representing you.
How is a criminal defense lawyer beneficial?
- Formulate appropriate defense strategies: Your lawyer assesses the prosecution’s accusations and analyses their evidence to find weaknesses and challenge them. They can plan strategies such as proving lack of intent.
- Witness testimonies: Often, another customer or a store worker might have witnessed the shoplifting occur. They might be present to testify, and your lawyer examines them by asking questions about the event in great detail. Any inconsistencies in their story can help invalidate their testimony.
- Plea bargains: The lawyer can help negotiate a plea bargain for their client with the prosecution in some cases like low-value thefts or first-time offenses for dropping criminal charges. The conditions may require the offender to complete a certain amount of community service, restitution, and attend a rehabilitative program.
Your lawyer provides you with valuable legal advice that can help reduce or drop your charges. Without their aid, you may receive a severe charge that negatively impacts your future.