Building a Fairfax shoplifting defense often depends on the circumstances of the alleged offense. It may be critical for anyone accused of stealing from a business to speak with an experienced shoplifting attorney right away. A lawyer can review the facts of your case and help you determine which arguments could contribute to your overall desired outcome.
Before building a Fairfax shoplifting defense, the individual’s legal representation might request access to as much evidence surrounding the case as possible. Assessing the facts of the alleged incident include considering the circumstances surrounding the incident such as who the witnesses were and what the accused individual’s intentions were at the time. In shopping situations, the person could have either forgotten that they had something that they did not pay for or they were planning all along to circle back and pay for them.
When trying to disprove intent to permanently deprive, a lawyer will likely measure testimony with facts in order to determine the what they may consider the strongest defense. An attorney will also think of possibilities for mitigation in the case where there are enough facts to support the charge. If there is enough evidence for a person to get convicted, an attorney starts thinking of what they can do to amend the charge down in order to preserve the person’s liberty.
Building a Fairfax shoplifting defense for related theft offenses is similar, in terms of assessing whether the person was able or intended to permanently deprive the person of that property. Frequently, the shopper could be circling the store, may have stepped out with the intention to return in order to pay for the items, or they simply forgot that they added something. It is different than theft in that the elements to permanently deprive could be pronounced or could be nonexistent.
Shoplifting defenses most often deal with a loss prevention officer. Typically, it is going to be the testimony of one person who is highly trained and who is following the person around. Usually, it is during the process of shoplifting, after the person tried to leave without paying, or on video footage of the person switching the price tags. With other types of theft, sometimes there is not a designated person to follow and watch the person but there are witnesses who are bystanders. For shoplifting offenses, there is usually at least one person who has been observing the person’s behavior the entire time they were in the store or business.
It is important for an attorney to consider whether there was video footage before building a Fairfax shoplifting defense. An attorney could ask whether or not there is a clip or some sort of footage that could exonerate an individual. If they try to contact that store, ask if that footage is there, they could ask to preserve it if it exists. They send a preservation letter to make sure that it is not erased, and then they follow that with a subpoena to get that video footage back. That is another way to build a defense for a Fairfax shoplifting offense.
When building a Fairfax shoplifting defense, the strategies that shoplifting lawyers use will depend on the lawyer, their personality, and the way they approach their cases. One approach to shoplifting defenses is to contact the store to try to get store video footage before it is erased. Depending on the store, that could be anywhere between seven days and 30 days. Usually, the video footage is helpful because otherwise, the only evidence is the loss prevention officer’s recollection and any statements that a defendant makes to the loss prevention officer, other people, or the police officers.
Attorneys first try to get that and then try to talk to any witnesses involved. They want to figure out who they are, whether or not they are coming to the court date, and what they will say. Sometimes witnesses talk to in advance of court. Sometimes they do not and attorneys have to remedy that for cross-examination. It is always to reach out in an attempt to get that information prior to the court date.
To mitigate charges as an attempt to avoid building a Fairfax shoplifting defense, an individual may be given community service hours or counseling. If they comply with those requirements, their charges could get dismissed. There is also a possibility, in some jurisdictions, to use the code section of trespass because it allows for what is called the differed disposition. The charge would be amended to a trespass, continue for a year, and if there is no further violations, then the case is dismissed. There are also options for a peace fund, which is when a person promises to stay away from a specific place or person to not disturb the peace.