Retail fraud is one of the most common criminal charges filed in our courts and is a very serious offense. It involves taking or attempting to take any item from a store without paying for it. This can include items from the actual store or any other merchandise sold by that business or even online. The penalties for shoplifting are harsh and a conviction can have a major impact on your future. If you are arrested for retail fraud, contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Criminal defense attorneys defend against shoplifting charges by attacking the prosecutions case. This is done by examining the police report(s), loss prevention report(s) and any in-store video(s) available. This is a thorough process that requires the skills of a highly skilled criminal defense attorney.
Another way that a criminal defense attorney will defend against retail fraud charges is by attacking the defendant’s intent to steal. To be convicted of stealing, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to permanently deprive the property owner of that merchandise. Savvy criminal defense lawyers will employ many strategies to cast doubt on the Defendant’s intent and therefore, they may be able to win a acquittal of all or some of the Retail Fraud charges.
The final way that a criminal defense attorney will defend retail fraud charges is by showing the jury that the Defendant did not intend to steal the property at all. Many times shoppers will make mistakes and inadvertently leave a store without paying for something. This can happen due to distraction or if the item was not properly scanned at checkout. It is also possible that the Defendant could have been mistaken about which item they were supposed to pay for or if they did intend to steal, but the store was not aware of this.
If you have been charged with retail fraud, the first thing that you should do is hire a criminal defense attorney who specializes in this area of the law. They will have the knowledge, reputation in the legal community and negotiating skills to fight for you and help you achieve a positive outcome. They will also be able to get you on a low or personal bond so that you do not have to spend time in jail prior to your arraignment and trial. They will also have the ability to avoid any restitution that might be required by the Judge or magistrate in the event of a conviction. They will also be able to keep your record clean and help you move on from this difficult situation. This is especially important for minors who are accused of retail fraud. Their record can be impacted for many years to come and the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney is invaluable in protecting their future.