Shoplifting Charges in Montgomery County
Shoplifting is the act of taking something from a retail establishment or shop without the owner’s permission. It may seem as though shoplifting is a minor offense. However, it can carry major penalties. That is why it is important for you to contact a Montgomery County attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can put together a strong defense, which can reduce your charges.
Penalties for Shoplifting
The penalties for shoplifting can vary. You can spend anywhere from 90 days to several years in prison. The value of the items that you stole are one of the factors that will determine how much time you will spend in jail. Your criminal history is another factor that will determine your jail sentence. If you have had prior convictions, then you will be facing a longer jail sentence.
Shoplifting can be considered a crime of mortal turpitude. This means that a person’s character may be questioned because of the criminal charges. A shoplifting charge can make the rest of your life difficult. You may have a harder time getting a job if you have a shoplifting charge on your record.
You may also have a harder time traveling to certain places. Additionally, you may not be able to hold a position in a political office if you have a shoplifting charge. Because shoplifting can carry serious charges, you will need the help of an attorney.
Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges
The monetary value of the item that was stolen will determine the charges. For example, someone who stole a $1,000 purse will likely get a harsher punishment than someone who stole a $10 tube of lipstick. Your attorney will carefully examine your case and determine what defenses can be used. The following factors will be taken into consideration.
- Intent-When you are checking out the items in your cart, one of the items may get tangled with the other ones. It may also be forgotten.
- Witnesses-The people who were in the store may not be reliable witnesses. It may also be hard to judge the person’s intentions because the video camera quality is not good.
- Mitigating Factors- Were you experiencing a mental lapse or sick at the time the shoplifting occurred?
After your attorney studies your case, they will be able to build a strong defense. The goal is to get your charges dismissed. If the attorney is unable to dismiss your charges, then they will try to get them reduced.
Why It is Important to Contact an Attorney
Many people think that the best thing for them to do after they have been caught shoplifting is to tell the police everything that they did. However, this can actually be used against you. The establishment may not be able to prove that you shoplifted. It is best for you to remain silent and consult with an attorney.
Shoplifting can carry some hefty penalties. Not only could you face jail time, fines and be required to do community service but your reputation can be damaged by this. The personal relationships that you have with the people in your life can also be hurt by the charges that you are facing.
Furthermore, if your reputation is damaged by shoplifting charges, then it can be hard for you to get a job or continue your education. People may think that you are not a trustworthy person if you have this charge on your record.
You do not want to plead guilty to any of the charges. You will need to consult with an attorney first.