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Just because a store employee or management is pointing the finger at you for shoplifting, doesn’t mean you were guilty of committing any crime. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor, and can still carry up to six months in jail if arrested for the offense.
Don’t assume you have no recourse when it is you against store employees, here is how Los Angeles shoplifting lawyers could help successfully defend your case;
Lacking the Intent to Steal
One of the ways the prosecution can get the charges of shoplifting to stick in your case is by proving there was intent. For example, if there is evidence of the theft being planned out before entering the location, then following through on those plans, it can be challenging to defend. If your Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer can show that you didn’t have intent to steal anything, then you can not be convicted for shoplifting. If there was no intent to steal, then the case can not be prosecuted in accordance with the penal code for shoplifting.
The Los Angeles shoplifting lawyers are skilled at being able to show that no intent was evident in the case, that the suspect may have accidentally put something in their bag or did so with the intention to pay at the register and simply forgot. This is a fine line to walk on your own, best left to an expert attorney who can formulate the scenario so it looks possible that what you are stating actually happened that day in the store.
The Factual Innocence Defense
One of the more successful defenses that your Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer will use to show you are innocent of the charges is the factual innocence defense. By showing the court you actually didn’t steal anything, is perhaps the easiest way to get the case dismissed. There are innocent people every day being accused of shoplifting who never took anything in their lives. Perhaps the store employ mistook you for another shopper and it was solely based on your appearance. Maybe an anonymous report was filed and you share the same last name as the person suspected.
Your Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer may be able to prove that there was a vindictive employee or manager at the shop who simply wanted to make things difficult for you. Even when the evidence appears especially damaging, your attorney will quickly exploit weaknesses in the prosecution case to help fight the charges of shoplifting.
Uncovering Police Misconduct
There are incidents where the police made a rush to judgement in a shoplifting case based on age or race. When a police officer responds to the call of a shoplifting case and you happen to match the description of the person in question, you could be falsely arrested and booked before being able to show your innocence. Then you have cases where the officers who are assigned to shoplifting cases are overworked and inexperienced, so mistakes are bound to be made along the way. If the officer has a racial bias towards one group, they may fabricate evidence to solidify the case.
Your Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer can also show the court that your Fourth Amendment Rights were violated when the officer conducted and illegal search of your person. There are even cases where a suspect was so afraid of the officer they were easily coerced into making a confession to something they did not have a part in.
The Planting of Evidence
On the extreme end, your Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer might be able to show the court that the items that were thought stolen were actually planted on the suspect. It could be a case of a store employee or manager not wanting this person in the store any longer, or that the officer was eager to make the arrest and simply planted items on the person to be able to go ahead with the arrest. If your attorney does suspect that this is a case of officer misconduct, they can file a Pitchess motion with the court.
If the court approves the motion, then your attorney has the opportunity to see if this officer has had others make similar claims against him.
If you have been arrested for suspicion of shoplifting, the first thing you need to do call the Los Angeles shoplifting lawyers to help.