Virginia Beach Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting is the willful concealment of goods and merchandise, with the intent to convert those goods and merchandise to one’s own use without authority. In other words, the perpetrator wants to keep that property for themselves.

The first element of shoplifting is a willful concealment. Second, is that the individual conceals those items without the authority of the owner. The third element is the intent of converting the goods or merchandise to one’s own use.

If you are facing shoplifting charges, you should reach out to an experienced theft attorney right away. Let a dedicated Virginia Beach shoplifting lawyer fight for you.

What are the Shoplifting Laws in Virginia Beach?

With shoplifting, the prosecutor must prove a willful concealment of goods for the purpose of converting the goods to one’s own use. This encompasses more than just merchandise, but also any personal property belonging to a merchant. If a willful concealment occurs while the accused is still on the premises of the business, that is automatic evidence of intent to deprive the owner of the merchandise.

The concealment does not have to be on one’s person. A person can also be charged with shoplifting if they concealed the item in another part of the store. Just like petit larceny and grand larceny, the prosecutor must prove the elements of value. For more information, consult with a knowledgeable defense lawyer.

Proving Willful Concealment of Goods

One common example in proving something was willful or not would be if someone is at a self-serving kiosk at a store (the self-checkout) and they have many items in their shopping cart. One item might be bigger than the others and was placed at the bottom of the cart. That person then scans all the other items in the cart, pays, and then walks out of the store. This could be called a willful concealment because they did not pay for the larger item on the bottom of the cart.

Shoplifting Penalties

If an individual is convicted of shoplifting, they can either be convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor charge can carry up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Misdemeanors do not carry the harsh penalties carried by felonies, but a misdemeanor conviction is still a criminal conviction. A misdemeanor conviction for larceny could make it difficult for the individual to find a job that requires the handling of other people’s money or property. On top of that, it could appear on their criminal history in a background check. They might always have to answer annoying and potentially career-affecting questions about their past.

Shoplifting can be considered a felony if the accused has been convicted two or more times of petit larceny or if they are accused of shoplifting items valued at more than $500. A felony charge can lead to up to 20 years in prison.

Building a Shoplifting Defense

When preparing a defense for shoplifting, lawyers will use strategies which can range from:

  • Challenging the identification of an accused
  • Challenging the value of the items at issue
  • Whether it can be inferred from the evidence if the accused intended to defraud the owner of the merchandise

An accomplished shoplifting lawyer in Virginia Beach will have the experience to build a strong defense for someone facing charges.

How a Virginia Beach Shoplifting Attorney Could Help

Shoplifting charges can lead to severe penalties and long-term repercussions. If you are facing charges, reach out to a dedicated Virginia Beach shoplifting lawyer. An experienced defense attorney could advocate for you and help you understand your legal options. Call today and set up a consultation.