Shoplifting is a common crime. Major stores encounter these incidents frequently. However, shoplifting also represents a serious crime. A shoplifting conviction will permanently remain on your criminal record. It could harm your ability to obtain employment or get into school. It can also be used against you in court to undermine your credibility. In short, shoplifting is a serious charge.
Shoplifting is often charged as petit larceny, under Virginia Code 18.2-96. Larceny basically means you took the property of another without permission and intended to permanently deprive that person of the property. The Commonwealth may also charge persons under Virginia Code 18.2-103, which prohibits concealing store merchandise or altering price tags.
You have defenses available. At Calinger Law, we will fight for your rights against charges involving stealing. We will review your case with you and investigate the facts in order to learn all the details about the case. In short, we will vigorously represent your interests against the government.
One possible defense is that you did not intend to deprive the store of the property without compensation. Shoplifting is a specific intent crime. That means the government has to prove that you intended to take the property permanently without paying for it. If a store agent stops you before you leave the store, it may be difficult to prove you did not intend to pay for the property. You also may have simply forgotten to pay for the property. It is not a crime to be forgetful! You can assert that you are innocent of this crime because you did not intend to harm anyone.
You also may have defenses open to you under the Fourth Amendment. When the police conduct searches, those searches typically must be based on probable cause of criminal activity. The police do not have an unlimited right to search your person or your property. If the police conduct searches when they did not have a right to search, you may be able to get any evidence suppressed. That means the evidence will not be admitted in court against you. The result: YOU WIN!
At Calinger Law, we have the expertise you need to represent you on shoplifting charges. Give us a call today to discuss your case. A free consultation is available!