Maryland Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting is a complicated crime because it is not always done intentionally or with malicious intent. Shoplifting can be as simple and accidental as putting something in your bag and forgetting to pay for it. However, like any other crime, shoplifting is not without its consequences. Working with a skilled theft defense lawyer can make all of the difference. If you face shoplifting charges, get in touch with a Maryland shoplifting lawyer who is familiar with Maryland theft laws and will advocate for you.
Behavior That Constitutes Shoplifting
In Maryland, shoplifting is a term that can be used to describe many different acts of theft. One common characteristic that all shoplifting cases share is that they typically occur within a store. In order for the court to find a defendant guilty of shoplifting, they would have to have passed through all points of sale. A person who walks around holding an item, or even putting an item in their jacket or purse, has not committed theft if they put it back on the shelf. On the other hand, if they take an item and they hide it on their person and then walk past all of the cash registers, they have committed a theft by way of a shoplifting. This is one element that is common in every shoplifting police report.
How Shoplifting Differs From Other Theft Offenses
Shoplifting differs from other theft-related offenses because shoplifting takes place in a store. The state has to prove that the defendant committed the theft, that it was their intent to permanently deprive the store of the property, and that the accused person passed all points of sales. This includes where they were when they were apprehended, whether they were walking out the door or already in the parking lot. These are all important facts that can potentially make a difference between a defendant being convicted and being found not guilty or have any potentially mitigated penalties.
Role of a Lawyer
The sooner the attorney gets involved, the sooner they can identify any evidence that needs to be collected, or if there is any investigation that needs to be done on behalf of the defendant, and begin building a defense. Some evidence may be lost if it is not collected immediately. A Maryland shoplifting lawyer can also help put a stop to investigation attempts by law enforcement or loss prevention officers working for the store in question because any information the defendant gives them could be used against them in court.
It is important for any person facing shoplifting charges to remember that they do not need to be communicating with police, but many people feel more comfortable when an attorney is present to help them assert that right. Being questioned by law enforcement is intimidating, and having an attorney present can help a person feel more comfortable and confident in their choice to refuse to give information.
Contacting an Attorney
A person who has been charged with shoplifting in Maryland should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, because the attorney can help their client from the very beginning, including their initial appearance in front of a commissioner or a judge.
Hiring a Maryland shoplifting lawyer can be extremely important, because a local attorney will have experience pleading cases before the local judges, and will have established a rapport with them. Each judge is unique, and there are certain things that one judge may want to hear that another judge will not put as much value on. When defending a case, it is important for the attorney to know the judge so that they have a better chance of successfully pleading for a favorable outcome for their client—whether that is a reduced or suspended sentence or a verdict of not guilty.