Shoplifting may seem like a petty crime, but it can lead to serious consequences and affect the way that you can live your life. If you have been accused of shoplifting in Virginia, you should, therefore, take these accusations seriously. By conducting thorough research to understand the law in regard to theft, you will be in a better position to effectively defend yourself from the accusations.
The following are some of the most common defenses used in response to a shoplifting accusation. While the defense strategy that you will use will depend on the exact circumstances surrounding your situation, it is a good idea to have an overview of some of the options available to you.
Arguing that there was a lack of intent to steal
To be charged with the crime of shoplifting, it must be shown that you intentionally took property meant for commercial purposes and intended to permanently deprive the owner of their property. Even if there is video footage showing that you left a store with the property that was not paid for, you can still argue that you did not commit this act intentionally.
How you are able to show that you did not act with intent will depend on the situation. You may be able to show that you were distracted by other things and absent-mindedly walked out of the store without paying. Alternatively, you may be able to show that another person, perhaps a child, put an unpaid item in your bag without you knowing.
Arguing that you did not steal
You can otherwise deny the accusation completely and argue that you did not take an unpaid item from the store. You may want to do this by simply denying the charges while arguing that there is a complete lack of proof. Alternatively, you may be able to explain that you did pay for the item, or that it was a case of mistaken identity.
While it’s likely that you are worried about the consequences of being found guilty of shoplifting, you do have may ways to effectively defend yourself. By taking early action to understand the law and build your defense strategy, you will have the best chance of being successful.