Building a Defense for Shoplifting Charges in Falls Church

The strategies that a Falls Church shoplifting lawyer will use in preparing for a defense in Falls Church are going to be similar to the strategies used in preparing a larceny defense. They are going to look for witnesses and any kind of video that could be available. They are going to write out all of the elements of shoplifting and identify them one by one as to what the prosecutor can prove or not prove and they are certainly going to continue to attack the case in the same way that they would attack a larceny case—by attacking the intent of the individual and to attack the value of the object as well.

Due to the various components that are involved in building a defense for shoplifting charges in Falls Church, it is very important for a person facing shoplifting charges in Falls Church to contact an attorney right away to ensure they receive the strongest defense possible.

First Steps

An attorney preparing for a shoplifting case will do a couple of things differently than one preparing other defenses. First and foremost, in a shoplifting case, an attorney wants to find out how the individual was observed to begin with. Was somebody viewing a camera? Where was the camera looking? Is that video footage still available? Was the video footage running correctly? Was it grainy or not grainy? What exactly was seen on the camera?

Then it comes down to who was the individual that actually first identified the person doing the action? Who is the person that then detained them? Who is the person that then found the item? Who all interacted with the individual being charged?

After that, it comes down to what was actually recovered, if anything, from the individual or what was the individual accused of either taking, concealing, or altering the price tags on? Depending on what the individual was accused of, the charge could be either a felony or a misdemeanor, so it is really important for an attorney to investigate that thoroughly and to prevent it from being taken to the felony level, or to knock it down from a felony level to a misdemeanor level accordingly.

Additionally, the person is also going to look for the intent. What was the intent of the individual? Does the individual have any other mitigating circumstances? Were they putting the price tag on it because they saw it fell off or were they actually taking it from a lesser-priced item to put it on there to try to mislead the sales associate? All of these are questions that the attorney is going to ask in a shoplifting case and these are important facts that the attorney needs to know to prepare a robust shoplifting defense.

How an Attorney Can Help

Having an attorney by a person’s side can help because it can prevent them from making admissions that would make a judge, prosecutor, or jury find them guilty. A person does not want to admit to anything that could sound like they are guilty and does not want to admit any kind of knowledge of any of the events they are accused of. They do not want to admit that they took any actions that could be construed as prohibited under the shoplifting statute.

Additionally, it is important for a person to have an attorney by their side to advocate for them if they are a first offender or if they do have some kind of element of their case that calls for leniency. It is extremely important because it may be the difference between getting a person’s charge dismissed and being convicted, the difference between jail time or no jail time, or the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. Having an attorney by a person’s side to argue the favorable facts and to try to suppress the bad facts is going to be a huge help to them as their case proceeds through the court.

Hiring a Local Attorney

A person charged with shoplifting in Falls Church would especially want to hire a local attorney. It is important to hire an attorney that knows not only the officers and the locations in the area, but also the local laws, ordinances, judges, and prosecutors.

This can give a person an idea of what is likely to happen based on the facts of their case and what they can expect from the court process, including how much time it is going to take and what the likely outcomes are. Additionally, they will be able to better figure out how to proceed with a person’s case, so they will know what kind of mitigating circumstances the judge is going to want to hear and what kinds of arguments will be more favorably received by the judge.

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