Building a Fredericksburg Shoplifting Defense
There are many defenses that can be used in Fredericksburg shoplifting cases. It all depends on the nature of the case, the specific facts of the case, and the person charged with shoplifting. An experienced defense attorney tries to craft a particular argument to the case. They can explain what specific things can be done to put the case in the best possible light.
To be convicted of shoplifting, a prosecutor must prove all of the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, not just beyond any doubt. The rule of the Commonwealth and the prosecutors on these cases is to prove the cases to the best they can beyond a reasonable doubt. If they fail to do so, the person cannot be convicted of the offense.
Initial Steps for Preparing a Defense
One of the initial steps in building a Fredericksburg shoplifting defense is getting into a detailed conversation with a charged individual to understand what they face and what can be done to minimize their exposure. The shoplifting lawyer may also get involved in the case and do discovery in an initial appearance which tells the court as well as the person that they are involved in the case and begin a discovery process.
In Virginia, there is no probation before judgment. For a disposition of probation in lieu of active incarceration, an attorney does a great deal of work in advocating for someone to put forward how certain outcomes may be in their best interest. The shoplifting lawyer can show the Commonwealth it is in their best interest in making sure that they do not have to see that person again, and the person does not face further potential criminal penalties for their conduct.
Difference Between Other Theft-Related Offenses
A defense in shoplifting case may be different than other larceny-based offenses. One of the main reasons that shoplifting defenses are sometimes harder than other offenses is that shoplifting creates a scenario in which someone’s intent can be inferred by their actions alone. In the Virginia Code, there is a subsection that says if someone passes the last point of sale at the store, if someone passes the last opportunity they have to pay for the items and fails to pay for them, the Commonwealth can use that behavior alone as an inference that the person did not intend to pay for the items and thus intended to commit shoplifting.
This inference of bad intent based on the conduct is a pretty substantial weapon in the prosecutors’ arsenal. A person cannot get to the end and claim they forgot to do pay for something when they are in the parking lot confronted by the loss prevention officer. Instead, it must be something they do more proactively.
Role of an Attorney
Typically, an attorney does not play a role in the arraignment process. In Virginia, not every case is arraigned for a criminal charge. That depends on the case and the court. Generally, someone would be at an arraignment if they were charged with a felony defense, while many jurisdictions treat someone’s first court date for a misdemeanor offense as their arraignment date. So an attorney’s role in the arraignment is limited and is really to help a person understand what they are charged with and make sure they properly schedule their court date.
There may be defenses that a person may not know are available to them such as duress, or not having read the Miranda rights, or other things that may come up in the specific shoplifting case that the person may not have the wherewithal to bring up in their defense. An experienced shoplifting attorney knows these and knows how to use them to help the person.