Shoplifting Defense Strategies in Somerset

Shoplifting is a serious crime in Somerset Maryland, and it can carry heavy penalties. For this reason anyone facing shoplifting charges in Somerset, should be sure to consult with a Somerset shoplifting defense attorney, in order to build a strong defense to their charges.

Initial Steps in Preparing a Defense

There are two things that need to be happening simultaneously. The defense attorney needs to be looking at the evidence that the state says that they have to see if there is evidence to prove every element of the case. At the same time, the defense attorney needs to be looking to see if the evidence the state intends to use is admissible.

A basic example is the rule of hearsay. Generally, the statements that peopleĀ make outside of court are not admissible. If it is being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted, it is hearsay and generally is excluded, however, there also numerous exceptions to the hearsay rule.

A defense attorney needs to review all of the statements that the state feels that they need to prove the case to determine what hearsay exception might allow that statement and what could be an argument to keep that statement out. It is a two-fold process that a lawyer will undertake when trying to prepare a defense.

Defense Strategies

The strategies for a shoplifting defense in Somerset are similar to strategies for a defense for anybody, in general. The attorney should look at the elements of this offense and what evidence the state believes they have forĀ each one of those elements. If the state is lacking in evidence for proving one of those elements, that would be the place to attack the state’s case.


One of the elements of a theft charge is that the state has to prove that the person took the item with the intent to permanently deprive. It may be difficult to determine if they intended to take it without paying for it and they did so with the intent of never give it back with self-scan machines. Although these machines are supposed to be user friendly, many people have problems with them and may end up not scanning an item by accident. It may not have been the defendant’s intent not to pay for an item however that individual could still be charged with shoplifting and warrant the services of an attorney.

Accidental Taking

Another potential defense in certain cases would be where a child put something into their pocket and the parent didn’t realize or where an individual put something on the bottom of their cart and forgot it was there. In these cases, there is not intent so an experienced attorney will be able to use that as a defense.

Elements of Prosecutorial Proof

For shoplifting, which is a theft in Somerset, Maryland, the prosecutor has to make sure that the proof shows there was a taking and carrying away of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive.

Proof of each one of those different elements has to exist. Then the prosecutor has to make sure on the day of trial, that they have the evidence to support each one of those elements and that the evidence is admissible. They have to make sure that they have all of their witnesses there. If there is a video that they think is important for the judge, they have to make sure that they have the video and disclose the video previously to the defense attorney.