Chesapeake Shoplifting Lawyer

Having a conviction on your criminal record is a big deal, even when the offense is considered relatively minor. This is true with shoplifting offenses, which are one of the lowest types of theft charges. Being convicted of this offense could follow you for years, impacting your life long after you have served any jail term.

A dedicated theft attorney can help you fend off these allegations. A favorable outcome is never guaranteed, but guidance from a Chesapeake shoplifting lawyer might give you the best chance of walking away without a conviction.

Understanding Shoplifting Charges

Virginia has a specific statute dedicated to the offense of shoplifting. Located at Section 18.2-103, this criminal charge applies to three general types of behavior that involve taking merchandise from a story without authority.

The first way to commit this offense is by concealing or taking merchandise or other goods from within a retail establishment. This could occur anywhere from a shopping mall to a gas station.

There are also ways to commit shoplifting without walking out of a store with an item or hiding it in clothing. The second option prosecutors have to prove their case involves altering the price of merchandise in an attempt to purchase it for less than its actual value.

Finally, it is a violation of the law to assist or aid someone in either of the prior acts. A shoplifting attorney in Chesapeake can develop a defense strategy for any of these scenarios.

Prima Facie Evidence

The prosecution has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, just like with any criminal charge. The law does set a specific scenario that it considers prima facie evidence of guilt. This term applies to something that is sufficient to establish guilt at trial. In these cases, proof of a person willfully concealing merchandise on their body while still in an establishment is enough for a jury to find the accused guilty, assuming there is no additional proof to the contrary.

Potential Defenses to Shoplifting

Any person accused of a criminal offense has the right to a vigorous defense. There are many potential strategies available in these cases, and selecting the right one is not always obvious. An important benefit of working with a shoplifting lawyer in Chesapeake is relying on their guidance when determining how to approach trial preparations. Some of the possible options include the following:

Lack of Evidence

The state ultimately has the burden of proof. The prosecutor has to show the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that is a high bar to clear. Sometimes, the best possible defense is highlighting the weakness of the state’s case.

Alternative Suspects

Arrests for shoplifting are often made based on grainy security footage or the testimony of unreliable witnesses. There are times when the police identify and arrest the wrong person. A defense attorney can make the case that someone else was the culprit.

Actual Innocence

A straightforward approach is to show a jury the accused did not commit a crime at all. In shoplifting cases, this often involves explaining a shopper was mistakenly arrested after placing property in a reusable bag they brought from home. These misunderstandings can make for a strong defense at trial or even convince the state to drop charges.

Talk to a Chesapeake Shoplifting Attorney Immediately

If you have been arrested for allegedly stealing from a retail store, a conviction could impact you in ways you might not expect. From difficulty maintaining your employment to damage to your personal reputation, it is a good idea to defend yourself aggressively. Call today to have a Chesapeake shoplifting lawyer from Parks Zeigler, PLLC, stand by your side.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
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524 Albemarle Drive,
Suite 200

Chesapeake, Virginia 23322
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200 N. Water Street,
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Elizabeth City, NC 27909
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