Misdemeanor Shoplifting Defense Attorney
How Can We Help You?
Misdemeanor Shoplifting Attorney
We are experienced criminal defense attorneys representing criminal defendants for misdemeanor crimes such as theft and/or shoplifting. The crime of theft can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. As a general rule, the value of the item(s) taken determines the severity of the offense although there are some notable exceptions.
For example, under Arizona law, theft of property that is valued at less than one thousand dollars is usually considered a misdemeanor. The most common exceptions to the valuation rule involve the theft of a firearm, a vehicle engine, or any vehicle transmission – the theft of any of these items is always considered to be a felony offense regardless of the value involved.
Why Hire a Misdemeanor Shoplifting Defense Attorney?
The purpose for hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer for misdemeanor offenses like theft and shoplifting are:
The most common type of misdemeanor theft is shoplifting. However, a repeat offender shoplifter (which means two prior convictions in the past five years) can be charged with a felony offense regardless of the value involved. In addition, use of any container or device (like a purse or a diaper bag) to facilitate the shoplifting can also elevate a low dollar crime to a felony offense.
Nowadays, most retail outlets employ full-time loss prevention employees whose sole purpose is to detect and detain shoplifters. By statute, a retail establishment has the legal right to question any person who is suspected of shoplifting. It is important to understand that a conversation with a non-government store employee is not the same thing as custodial interrogation conducted by a police officer. When a police officer restricts your freedom to leave, several constitutional safeguards instantly apply. A non-government store employee is not bound by those same constitutional mandates. As a result, suppressing any voluntary statements made to a store employee (before the police arrive) is something that can be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish.
In addition to any punishment that can be imposed by the criminal courts, a merchant that has detained a shoplifter has two civil remedies that are almost always invoked:
- The shoplifter can be put on notice that s/he is no longer welcome in that particular store and will be arrested for trespassing if s/he returns within a designated time frame; and
- The store can require that the shoplifter pay a civil penalty of $250.00 plus the value of the item taken.