Woodbridge Shoplifting Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting in Woodbridge, that means that you are facing prosecution in Prince William County. This county is the harshest jurisdiction in all of Northern Virginia when it comes to prosecuting shoplifting cases. Furthermore, in every shoplifting case, the government will be seeking active jail time upon conviction. For that reason, hiring a Woodbridge shoplifting lawyer is critical in increasing your chances of avoiding jail time and winning your case.

Shoplifting is a petty theft crime which involves the removal of merchandise from a retail establishment past the last point of sale. The last point of sale is considered to be the cash register that’s in front of the store or, in some cases, the front door of the store. When these types of charges are alleged, it is important to consult with a theft attorney as soon as possible to begin building a defense.

Elements Needed For a Conviction

The prosecutor must prove all of the elements required for a shoplifting charge:

  • A person took something of value from a retail establishment
  • They had the intent to steal it
  • They removed that item from the store beyond the last point of sale

The government might indeed be able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, in which case a Woodbridge shoplifting attorney employs the strategy of mitigation. Mitigation means presenting evidence of the character and prior good deeds of the accused in an attempt to soften the blow upon conviction.

Shoplifting vs Larceny

Shoplifting is a kind of larceny which can encompass many types of theft involving money, goods, or services that can be stolen. Shoplifting is a more focused term because it specifically deals with merchandise taken from a retail establishment. However, it’s important to note that there is not a specific shoplifting statute in Virginia. Shoplifting is charged as petty larceny if it is under $200 and is charged as grand larceny if it is over $200. Shoplifting can be considered a felony if a number of goods that were taken exceed $200 in value.

Virginia law does not differentiate between shoplifting and theft. Any defenses that might exist for potential theft charges, such as asserting the defense of mistake when applicable, would also exist for potential shoplifting charges. For all theft cases, a Woodbridge shoplifting attorney will analyze any useful sources of evidence, such as documentary or video evidence.

How a Shoplifting Attorney Can Help

First, a Woodbridge shoplifting attorney will help an individual understand exactly what it is that he or she is facing and then exactly what to expect when going to court. Then, an attorney can present evidence on the client’s behalf and fight for his or her innocence if applicable. If the prosecution is able to prove their case for a client’s guilt, an attorney will help by presenting mitigation evidence to help prevent some of the more serious consequences upon conviction.

Arraignment

The arraignment is simply an advisement process in Virginia and therefore, the attorney plays no role. An arraignment is simply a judge telling a person who has been charged with a crime what their charges are, when their court date is and that they have the right to an attorney to help them defend against those charges. A person facing charges should always seek as much help from a Woodbridge shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible.