Has someone in your family been arrested on shoplifting charges. Sometimes it’s difficult to get people to take this charge seriously, especially if the person charged is a minor. They tend to laugh it off as a lark. Unfortunately, the legal system takes a far more serious view of shoplifting.
Shoplifting is the common term for the actual criminal offense of petty theft. While it seems like a small crime, shoplifting costs business owners millions of dollars annually, especially in a down economy. That means there’s enormous pressure from the merchants to increase security and also prosecute these crimes. Also, shoplifting can lead to more serious crimes, so the criminal system is committed to stopping the actions early.
The first step is to find a criminal defense attorney with expertise working on petty theft charges. While this might seem like a small case, it’s critical that you have legal counsel to represent you on these charges. A skilled prosecutor can take a relatively minor case and turn it into a full blown case.
The dollar value of the item stolen is very important when it comes to the charge. In many states, shoplifting an item that exceeds $200 can result in a charge of grand larceny. Also, in many cases, a shoplifting conviction can result in a “first strike” offense. Remember, three strikes could mean a lifetime in jail.
When you consult an attorney, he or she will help you understand the serious nature of this crime and how you can successfully defend yourself (or a family member) against this crime. A Toms River NJ Criminal lawyer will work with you to possible reduce the sentence, or work on your behalf with the prosecution.
It’s entirely possible that you may be able to discuss simple community service. On the other hand, without the assistance of a criminal lawyer, you could be facing possible jail time or severe penalties.
There are a lot of consequences of shoplifting charges. While the charges might not seem like a very serious charge at first, the consequences can be quite severe. In fact, it could even result in a permanent criminal record. Imagine the effect this would have on college enrollment and future employment.
A criminal lawyer in New Jersey will help you understand just how serious these charges are, and how to put together a good defense. While this may be a painful process right now, eventually you can come out of it with just a distant memory.