Does an Individual Accused of Shoplifting Have Rights?
If you have been accused of shoplifting, you need the best defense possible. Shoplifting is when an individual knowingly takes items out of a retail establishment without paying for the full retail value. The practice is against the law and will generally be a misdemeanor offense in the state of Maryland, but if the value of the property taken is high enough, the theft could be a felony.
A Baltimore criminal lawyer is able to assess all the facts and develop a defense strategy when a person is accused of shoplifting. When an attorney is advocating for you, it can minimized the amount of harm.
What Is the Punishment for Shoplifting?
The value of the merchandise that is taken is connected to the shoplifter’s punishment. While shoplifting can be thought of as minor, the truth is the state of Maryland takes theft seriously and a lawyer can help a person accused of shoplifting handle their case.
The penalties below are a few of the examples of maximum shoplifting penalties in connection with the value of the merchandise:
- Less than $100: Fine of up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail
- $100 – $1,000: Fine of up to $500 and/or 18 months in prison
- $1,000 – $10,000: Fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison
It is easy to see that the theft of a tube of lipstick or a flash drive is a smaller offense. But if the value of the items is high, and the charge is a felony, punishments increase. This could be true if a person shoplifts designer clothing or expensive electronics, items that quickly tally into the thousands.
Of course, a shoplifting charge needs to be proven. It has to be clear the individual intended to steal the times and the intent was to deprive the store owner of the retail value. In order for this to be proven, an individual does not have to leave the store. There are circumstances when prosecutors could prove the intent, if the merchandise was hidden for instance, while the shoplifter is still on store property.
How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
Every situation has a unique set of circumstances, discuss your situation with a Baltimore criminal lawyer so they can let you know what the best path is for you. For some, that might mean a defense that can prove there was no intent to steal. In other situations it could mean an event took a person’s attention away and they did not realize the item was put into their handbag or purse.
If there is ample evidence that a person did indeed shoplift, it is still in the individual’s best interest to have a lawyer on their side to help reduce the punishment or find a way for a person to take part in a program that would keep the offense off of an individual’s permanent record.
Have you been accused of shoplifting in Baltimore, Maryland? You need a criminal lawyer on your side. Contact the legal team at Iamele & Iamele, LLP to understand your options. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.