Maryland Shoplifting Defense Strategies 

Shoplifting is often brushed off, but it is a crime that can have very real repercussions. Besides potential fines, by being charged with shoplifting, you risk jail time and damage to your reputation. In order to mitigate the consequences of a shoplifting charge, it is imperative that you get in touch with a lawyer who has knowledge of Maryland shoplifting defense strategies.

A local lawyer will have knowledge of the Maryland court system and how to best present your case. If you have been charged with shoplifting, seek the legal counsel of a diligent shoplifting attorney who will take preparing your defense seriously.

What a Prosecutor Must Prove

In a shoplifting case, the prosecutor is must be able to prove all of the elements of theft. This means that they have to prove that this defendant took and carried away the property of another person, or in this case a store, and did so with the intent to permanently deprive them of the property. They must also show that the person actually did remove the items from the store after going past all points of sale.

Strategies to Use When Preparing a Shoplifting Defense

Some facts are unique to a shoplifting allegation because the case involves items being removed from a store, as opposed to other theft charges. One of the most important things the state must establish is that the person passed all the points of sale prior to being apprehended.

The self-serve checkout stands that have become popular in many grocery stores have created new complications because there are people who legitimately may not understand how to use these machines. There may be an incident where a person thought that they were scanning all of their items when in fact they were not. It is sometimes possible to use security camera footage to establish whether this was unintentional, or whether they purposefully neglected to scan their item.

Initial Steps When Preparing a Defense

Before commencing with choosing the appropriate Maryland shoplifting defense strategies, an attorney will want to interview their client and make sure that they understand who they are working with and the details of the case. It is important for the defense lawyer to know what evidence the prosecution has against their client. They will ask biographical information about the client, such as whether or not that person has any previous criminal history.

If the defendant did, in fact, steal something from a store, the attorney will want to know why, because this can be important for a judge to know if the person is found guilty. If someone shoplifts because they have no money and they are stealing diapers or food,  most judges will take that into consideration, and might be a little bit more understanding.

It is becoming more common for stores to allow shoplifters to leave the store. They are not apprehended at the store itself, and there is an attempt made later to identify who they are. If someone is apprehended in the parking lot and the merchandise is in their jacket, it is a simpler case for the state to prosecute. But in cases where a defendant is identified, for example, by a license plate on a car that they were seen getting into, or after being compared to other photographs, there may be more that the defense can do to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. So, it is important to for a criminal defense attorney to know the facts of the case, such as whether surveillance footage exists, and whether the person was apprehended on-site. With this information, a lawyer can give their client a better sense of what possible defense strategies might exist.

Role of an Attorney

Working with a lawyer that is familiar with Maryland shoplifting defense strategies and the Maryland court system, can help assure a better outcome for the defendant. It can also be very helpful for a defendant to have an attorney at their arraignment, because it can mean the difference between a bond being set and that a person being released on their own recognizance. Having an attorney involved at the arraignment stage can help increase the likelihood that the accused person will be either released on their own recognizance or will be released on a very low bond. Attorneys know what judges and commissioners want to hear when determining whether a person needs to be held in the jail in order to ensure that appear in court when the case is heard.