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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Building a Philadelphia Shoplifting Defense

Like other theft charges, shoplifting is a serious offense that can result in severe penalties. If you are facing shoplifting charges, you should seek the services of a knowledgeable shoplifting defense lawyer. An experienced attorney could help your situation by building a Philadelphia shoplifting defense for you. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Initial Steps to Preparing a Defense

When dealing with a defense for retail theft in Philadelphia, an attorney would look into the specific details surrounding the retail theft that is brought before the court. Any defense that can be raised will be fact-specific based upon the actual case itself, that the person merely made an error in some degree and lacked the intent to commit a crime. Evidence such as surveillance video of the items being taken (or taken by mistake) may be helpful. All these circumstances are plausible when building a Philadelphia shoplifting defense.

Additionally, in many cases, individuals may have forgotten a particular item and pass the point-of-purchase, thus opening themselves up to possible prosecution. However, with the proper presentation of the defense, communication with all parties, and proving that the alleged offender’s background and/or lack of criminal record, may assist the court in ruling in favor of the defense.

Probation and Other Reduced Sentencing Options

A shoplifting lawyer in Philadelphia can aid someone in mitigating any sort of sentence for a first, second, third, or even greater number of retail thefts that the individual may have been involved in. Should the person have had some sort of substance abuse problem, a lawyer can direct the court and the individual directly to treatment-based programs to avoid incarceration.

Some programs even avoid a conviction on their record depending upon eligibility. Understanding how the system works in dealing with shoplifting cases and how to divert those cases out of the criminal justice system and into diversionary programs is essential. Having a lawyer by their side only assures that everything is being done to protect their rights and every possible diversionary program is being reviewed to avoid an incarceration sentence. Mass incarceration in Philadelphia is not something that the courts look fondly upon, nor do the prosecutor’s office. When a person is dealing with multiple counts of retail theft they can be charged with a felony of the third-degree, which carries a sentence of three and a half to seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine. To best avoid the serious penalties associated with shoplifting, individuals should work with an attorney that could begin building a Philadelphia shoplifting defense for them.

Courts will impose incarceration, but with the right mitigating factors and the right issues being brought to the court’s attention by an individual’s attorney, the chances of incarceration are far less.

Shoplifting Different from General Theft

Shoplifting is different from general theft offenses in that it is the most specific crime dealing with retail establishments. When a crime of theft is committed through the taking of a retail establishment with the intent to permanently deprive the retail establishment of the item, a retail theft or shoplifting charge is charged in Philadelphia.

General theft from a store is always considered retail theft, whether employee-based theft or individuals who enter the store with the intent to commit a theft. In either case, the most specific crime charged in shoplifting in Philadelphia would be retail theft.

How Building a Philadelphia Shoplifting Defense is Different from Defending Other Theft Charges

The specific facts of an individual’s particular case are what constitute the best defense. In dealing with retail theft cases, having substantive evidence such as videotape monitoring from the store accounts with the store, and the ability to pay for such items is certainly fundamental to building a Philadelphia shoplifting defense.

The defense of error or mistake can come in to play as well. Individuals can make an error or mistake and lacked the intent to commit such a retail theft. However, when dealing with theft cases in general, often the value of the specific items is what will come in to play.

In theft cases, courts find it much more serious and often impose greater sentences when it is theft from a person. However, when dealing with retail establishments and the lack of an aggressive nature upon the accused, the courts will often move to a more mitigated sentence for a particular non-violent crime.