When you’ve been accused of shoplifting, the outlook can appear bleak. The authorities say they’ve caught you red-handed, so there’s no use in arguing against the charge. Don’t believe them. This is a trick. It’s an attempt to move the case along quickly. They want to secure a guilty verdict and move on.
You can fight any charge in court. This is your right. The prosecution has a responsibility to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You can make them work for it by pleading not guilty and challenging your case.
No matter what evidence the authorities believe they have against you, you can always push back against a shoplifting allegation. Here are some effective defenses you can use in court.
There Was No Intent
To build a strong case, prosecutors must show that someone is guilty beyond a simple technicality. They need to show intent. This means that, in a shoplifting charge, the accused purposely stole something. Furthermore, shoplifting implies that the alleged offender did not intend to bring an item back.
It’s easy to get distracted while you’re out shopping. You could be busily checking your list, wrangling in the kids, or simply daydreaming. In your confusion, you may accidentally walk out of the store without paying for an item or two. Before you get the chance to return it, you’re suddenly facing a shoplifting arrest.
If you took something by accident and didn’t get the chance to return it, this is a genuine, credible defense against shoplifting.
The Item Was Not Concealed
Technicalities matter in a criminal accusation. Shoplifting charges assume that you hid an item and walked out of the store with it. If you had the item in the open and left the store, this could, technically, invalidate your shoplifting charge.
A lack of concealment can also work within a lack of intent claim. You could argue that if you brazenly had the item out in the open, you clearly didn’t realize you were stealing it. Maybe you thought you’d already paid for it, or maybe you simply didn’t realize it was in your hand. Essentially, you’re claiming that you’re not foolish enough to openly walk out of the store with stolen goods.
The Police Have the Wrong Person
It’s easy to mistake one person for another, especially in a crowded store. Eyewitnesses are unreliable at the best of times. Any simple obstruction like a shelf or an item jutting into an aisle can confuse onlookers. You can also assume that a witness didn’t see you for long, unless they had been staring at you for quite a while.
Even security footage can be misinterpreted. Cameras are often placed at odd angles, and even with modern technology, the footage can be grainy and indistinct. The person on camera may bear a striking resemblance to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s definitely you.
Remember, your attorney’s main objective is to sow doubt into the prosecution’s argument. If they can make the court questing whether the wrong person was accused, even just a little, you may be able to beat your shoplifting charge.
Our firm is here to help defend you against shoplifting allegations. Call us at (775) 502-1575 today for a free consultation. You can also schedule time with us online.