Building a Defense for Shoplifting in Alexandria

If you are facing shoplifting charges in Alexandria, you should contact a shoplifting attorney immediately. It is recommended from the first moment that individuals are detained in the store that they call a shoplifting lawyer. If an individual cannot contact an attorney this quickly, they should not say anything and should secure contact with a lawyer immediately afterward. The longer a person waits, the more likely the facts and evidence will get lost. The best thing you can do to start building your defense is to retain representation early and give the attorney the best possible tools with which to defend the case.

Preparing the Defense

When preparing a defense, the initial step that a lawyer will take varies depending on the type of case. Typically, when preparing a shoplifting defense, the first thing that an attorney will do is talk to their client to find out what the client remembers from the day of the incident. The lawyer will take notes, finding out what type of store it was, who was there, whether it is likely that they had cameras or witnesses, what the layout of the store is like, and whether or not the client remembers giving any statements.

From there, the attorney will track down the store security and try to talk to the loss prevention officer and any other witnesses that the Commonwealth intends on using to prove their case. A lawyer will look at the available video footage of the incident, and if there is footage available for review, the information exhibited in the video helps put together a comprehensive picture of what happened as supplemental information to the police report. This helps show where everybody was and what they saw, to be able to get a better idea of what the Commonwealth attorney is going to be able to prove at trial.

The next step is to plan how to attack any of the possible points in the prosecutor’s case. Perhaps the identity, or perhaps the intent, if the prosecutor cannot prove that the person left the store with the item or if the prosecutor is unable to show the exact value of the item. An experienced shoplifting lawyer will know to start preparing the types of defenses that are very much aligned with the facts of the case.

Role of an Attorney at Arraignment

In Alexandria, a person’s first court date for a shoplifting charge is going to be the arraignment. An arraignment is where the charge is read to the charged individual so that that person is aware of what the charges are, and the judge is going to ask the individual whether or not he or she wants an attorney appointed to their case, or whether they are going to try to find an attorney independently.

If someone already has an attorney prior to the arraignment, the attorney can actually waive the arraignment and talk to that person about the charges so that the individual does not have to go into court. Then, the attorney can actually pick a court date in advance in Alexandria, so that the individual does not have to take as many days off of work and is able to go ahead and set the trial date for the case.

If someone does not have an attorney prior to the arraignment, but will have one later (maybe the attorney is hired in the morning of the arraignment), the attorney will come into the arraignment and stand with the person as the judge reads his or her rights, and then the attorney will be able to help set a court date for the trial. Additionally, an attorney can file for discovery and attempt to get started collecting information at the arraignment date.

Benefit of a Local Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting charges in Alexandria will require a local attorney simply because the alternative outcomes available for somebody charged with shoplifting are very different from other counties in Virginia. A lawyer who is familiar with practicing in Alexandria will be able to tell their client what the prosecutors will do in the case depending on the facts, and the attorney will also be able to help facilitate the stop-shop program. A seasoned shoplifting lawyer will be able to give their client information about the program, which is a unique program that is not offered in any other counties in the state of Virginia. A local attorney is going to have more knowledge about that.

Additionally, local attorneys often have to deal with the same merchants over and over, so if one is charged with shoplifting in a certain establishment, there is a really good chance that a local attorney will already have dealt with that establishment, know exactly who to call, or know what the loss prevention officer is going to be likely to say at trial. That will give them a distinct advantage in building a defense for shoplifting.

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