While receiving an accusation for shoplifting may be a daunting circumstance, know that you do not have to face it alone. An experienced Midland shoplifting lawyer may be able to assist you with representation in court. A dedicated Midland shoplifting lawyer could help to guide you through any necessary procedures while preparing you for what to expect in the courtroom. Read on to learn more about how a professional defense attorney could make a difference in your case today.

What Constitutes Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is a form of theft involving stealing from a store. Theft occurs when someone appropriates property from another party without their consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. In order to convict someone of shoplifting, the prosecution must prove that the individual took an item from a store without permission, and intended to keep the item without paying for it.

Penalties following the conviction of someone who committed shoplifting will depend on the value of the property taken. It can be as little as a Class C Misdemeanor (with a fine of up to $500) or as serious as a First Degree Felony (yielding possible prison time). Additional penalties include probation and the maximum amount of a $4,000 fine with misdemeanor jail time.

Multiple Offenses

The consequences for shoplifting would be enhanced if the individual had a prior conviction depending on the level of the previous charge. For example, if their prior conviction was for a felony and they are now facing a misdemeanor theft, that previous felony could enhance the minimum amount of jail time that the defendant could receive.

When preparing a defense for these types of situations, a dedicated Midland shoplifting lawyer could first try to figure out if the owner truly did not give the defendant consent to take the allegedly stolen property. If the individual did take the property, they may not have known that the owner did not give their consent based on the circumstances. They could also gather any video footage or witness statements that would add evidence as to what really happened.

Arraignment Proceedings

Before the arraignment, a determined Midland shoplifting lawyer could advise the defendant of the warnings that a judge may give during the proceedings. A skilled defense lawyer could file pleadings with the court that would waive arraignment so that the defendant would not have to appear at the arraignment at all. If a defendant appears at the arraignment with their attorney, they can also interrupt to plea for the defendant rather than the defendant having to say it out loud to the judge.

The Role of a Midland Shoplifting Lawyer

Knowing the nuances of all the different individuals behind the scenes can really affect the negotiation and outcome of the case. A local Midland shoplifting attorney will have this advantage, and will be knowledgeable about the system itself. An attorney could look for legal defenses and would be able to determine whether the defendant was legally arrested with probable cause. If you are facing charges of shoplifting, reach out to a qualified Midland shoplifting lawyer today to schedule your initial consultation.