Originally Published January 24th, 2020
Petty theft or shoplifting laws vary from state to state. However, with an experienced criminal defense attorney, your shoplifting fine can be reduced.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU GET CAUGHT SHOPLIFTING?
To be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the severity of the item that you stole. Again, each state has different rules for shoplifting. But, most of the time, if the things that you took are worth less than $500, then it’s only considered as a misdemeanor stealing.
Two things can happen when you get caught shoplifting. It’s either you can get arrested, or police might only issue you a Shoplifting ticket and let you go.
If an officer issued you a shoplifting ticket, you can go to court and represent yourself. However, lawyers don’t recommend this. The best thing you should do is hire an attorney to help and represent you in court.
With help from an attorney, you have a high chance that your lawyer can reduce or dismiss your shoplifting charges.
FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT YOUR SHOPLIFTING CASE
Your age can significantly affect your case. The judge can be more merciful to you if you’re younger.
- Prior Convictions
Your criminal history will also affect the decision of the judge. If you have prior convictions, the chances are high that even a plea bargain deal won’t be offered to you.
- The Item You Stole
The item that you stole can also interfere with the judge’s decision. The judge might be more lenient if you were caught stealing food for your baby than taking cosmetics or anything just for fun.
- The Value Of The Stolen Item
Your case may be treated differently depending on the value of the object that you stole. For instance, a $30 item has lower charges than stealing a $500 worth of an item.
CAN YOU GET RID OF YOUR SHOPLIFTING TICKET OFF OF YOUR RECORD?
Yes, you can pay shoplifting fine to get your ticket off of your criminal record. But, getting rid of it is much higher than pleading guilty and paying a fine.
However, shoplifting conviction can’t be expunged from your criminal record. If you have a prior conviction, most likely you will find it hard to get a decent job in the future. Even applying for a scholarship for your college might get you rejected.
The best thing to do is find a criminal defense lawyer that can help you lower your charges or totally dismiss your case. In some cases, a good lawyer will do all the work for you without you having to appear in court.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Franchette Agatha Jardin believes that everyone has the capacity to help those who are in need. She writes blogs about issues and news surrounding those in prison in the hopes of restoring a little extra faith in humanity.