Defending Against Theft or Shoplifting Charges

Shoplifting happens, sometimes even accidentally. Maybe you forgot something in your cart and accidentally left the store with it. Oftentimes people think of it as not a big deal when it happens, but shoplifting is a criminal offense.

Shoplifting as little as $300 in items is an automatic felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison. Additionally, regardless of the value, having a second or third offense is also considered a felony. If you’re concerned about your criminal record, reach out to the lawyers at Chicago Trusted Attorneys® to defend against theft or shoplifting charges.

Evidence Needed for a Shoplifting Conviction

To be convicted of shoplifting, the prosecution must have proof. Below are some key pieces of evidence they need to convict:

  • You were witnessed approaching the shoplifted items while in the store
  • You were seen physically handling the item
  • You were seen carrying the item away, attempting to conceal it, or even engaged in switching the price tag or packaging
  • You were seen not paying for the item
  • You were approached by the store’s security team after passing the last opportunity to pay for the merchandise

If there are issues with any of this evidence, you may have grounds to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Your lawyer will seek out any mistakes in the evidence and gather proof in your favor.

It is also important to note that in the case of minors, the charges can be different. They may also have different concerns when facing shoplifting charges, so talk to your criminal defense lawyer about what you need to know if your child was accused of shoplifting.

The Common Defenses Against Shoplifting

There are many ways to change the theft charges against you. These defenses can vary, but your criminal defense lawyer will help you choose the path that benefits your case most. Below are some of the most common strategies that attorneys will use.

Inadequate Evidence Against You

Proving that all of these elements above happened has to be done. If there is inadequate evidence that shows they don’t have proof, then this is a valid case for inadequate evidence.

In the courtroom, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In practice, that means the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If they can’t gather enough evidence to prove you committed a crime, your lawyer can help you avoid the charges.

Lack of Intent

The prosecution must also show that the shoplifting was intentional. In Illinois, the court can only infer intent if there is evidence. For example, it has to be shown that you concealed the merchandise or removed the merchandise beyond the last area for receiving payments before you were arrested.

Mistakes Made

Sometimes the store security is wrong. If you were targeted due to a mistake, your identity was mistaken, security misinterpreted what you were intending to do, and racial profiling.

In any case like this, the store security is not going to want to admit their mistakes. They may be afraid of getting fired. An attorney can help to pick out these mistakes in court and prove your innocence.

Defend Your Case with a Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

When you’re accused of shoplifting, you may need guidance to get the best defense possible for your case. The criminal defense lawyers at Chicago Trusted Attorneys® have the tools to help you get answers and defend your case when you’re accused.

Ready to seek help from an attorney? Reach out by calling 312-519-3171 or by completing the online contact form below.