Stafford County Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting is theft from a retail establishment. It means taking an item which is for sale in the store and carrying it out of that store past the last point of sale without paying for it. Point of Sale refers to the cash registers and the doors. If you commit that act, you commit shoplifting.
Shoplifting is a criminal offense and it is considered a crime of moral turpitude. In other words, it is seen as going against the common good with respect to the principles of justice, honesty, and morality. Although there are more serious crimes than shoplifting, it is judged harshly because of this categorization. For that reason, hiring an experienced Stafford County shoplifting lawyer is important in order to fight the charges and build a strong defense. In this way, you can improve the odds of preserving your long-term interests without having them derailed by a conviction.
Shoplifting vs Larceny
Shoplifting is one kind of larceny, though in physical actions they are no different. However, shoplifting is a more specific type of larceny. Under the laws of Virginia, there is not a specific shoplifting statute. Shoplifting and larceny are punished under the same statute. However, shoplifting is a specific type of larceny which can be punished under the larceny statute.
Shoplifting is covered by the larceny statute in Virginia and requires a person remove an item from the store and take it past the last point of sale and out the doors of that store, without the consent of the store manager.
The possible penalties depend on the nature of the charge being levied. If it is a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, that means the value of the item or items taken is less than $200. If it is a misdemeanor charge, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, if the amount of goods taken exceeds $200, then it becomes a felony charge. A felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison thereby making it imperative a shoplifting lawyer in Stafford County is contacted immediately.
If someone has a prior conviction on their record and is charged with shoplifting, there is a strong chance that any plea offer or disposition will include time in jail. Most of the time, if it is a first offense, a Stafford County shoplifting attorney will be able to negotiate the penalties down from jail. However, if a person has a prior offense and is charged with another, they can expect active jail time will most likely follow a conviction.
How A Stafford County Shoplifting Attorney Can Help
The number one way having an attorney by your side can help is that they will keep you informed as to exactly what you can expect during the case. If you go in without a Stafford shoplifting attorney, the odds are you will not really know what to expect and you will not be aware of the possible various outcomes which could occur. On the other hand, an attorney can help prepare you for what might happen on the day of your trial, including possible offers, trial strategies, and possible defenses.