The Cost of Shoplifting Convictions: Legal Fees, Fines, and Restitution
While those caught stealing for the first time will likely receive nearly the highest sentences on this list, repeat offenders of shoplifting or those who commit ostentatious displays of high-value merchandise in the store could result in a suspended sentence or county jail.
The criminal lawyer Mississauga in Canada states that people commit shoplifting if they knowingly steal items from retail establishments. The offense is referred to as retail theft.
But if you steal goods and the value of the stolen goods exceeds this threshold, you could face serious charges of:
- shoplifting, or
- grand theft.
Five penalties for theft
Pay punish money
You can be fined up to $1,000 for shoplifting under certain state laws, according to criminal lawyer Mississauga about shoplifting and shoplifting. However, the first violation usually incurs a fee of several hundred dollars in addition to the fine and assessment. You may also have to pay the city a reservation fee if you are charged with shoplifting.
However, remember that even for the first offense, you may have to pay the highest penalty allowed under your state’s theft laws if the value of the stolen goods is too high.
Participate in a redirect program.
If this is your first time stealing something or the value of the item is very small, many states will offer store theft diversion programs. You often must comply with many court requirements as part of a diversion program. Examples include paying a fine, returning to a retail store, performing community service, and enrolling in a theft prevention course. A criminal lawyer in Mississauga will usually remove your criminal charges from the criminal justice system if you follow the instructions successfully.
You may have to pay restitution if you are found guilty of shoplifting. Paying a refund involves compensating the store for the value of the things you’ve stolen and possibly even the costs involved. You usually receive your compensation after receiving a letter of civil claim.
Civil notice in case of theft occurs when the retailer writes to you and demands payment of any damages suffered by the retailer due to the alleged theft. This happens frequently even though the goods have been collected in good condition.
A judge may apply misdemeanor probation for theft, depending on the specifics of your case. You may be placed on probation if you have a criminal record or history that includes other offenses and have previously been convicted of theft.
The store theft laws of most states state that anyone convicted of shoplifting or shoplifting can be jailed. Under some of these laws, shoplifting is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail. However, if the items you stole were of substantial value, you could be charged with a felony and sentenced to state prison.
What you should do when you are charged with shoplifting
Defending a Shoplifting Case
If criminal charges are filed, individuals must protect their rights and force the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. While only an criminal lawyer Toronto can review the entire case and find any weaknesses in the prosecution, defendants should always consider the question of intent. Shoplifting requires the respondent to take the goods with the intention of stealing. Because innocent actions can be misinterpreted, the intent element often baffles prosecutors in these cases. Of course, any successful criminal lawyer in Mississauga must be consistent with all the remaining evidence.
Avoid the consequences of a belief.
Despite strong evidence against the defendant, the long-term consequences of shoplifting may justify taking the case to court instead of pleading guilty. It is common for merchants not to be present at the trial to testify against the defendant as they incur the cost of suspending other obligations to participate in the proceedings. Many other serious cases were dismissed simply because the prosecution witnesses were not present on the day of the trial.
Consult a defense attorney.
You may feel confused, embarrassed, or even angry if you are arrested for stealing. No matter how dire your situation may seem, continuing without a criminal lawyer in Mississauga will worsen things. Contact a criminal defense attorney now to learn more about your case resolution options.
What to expect after an accusation of theft
Not knowing what to expect during a court hearing can add to the stress if you face your first charge of shoplifting. To help alleviate some of that stress, here’s an overview of the main steps in a burglary case.
A typical theft case takes three to six months to resolve. But more serious cases can take longer, sometimes up to a year, before trial. Each case has nuances, and the law and its application are more complex. There are also many rules of procedure that you must follow
When arrested for shoplifting, you should seek legal representation immediately. These charges are usually pursued to the fullest extent of the law, in addition to any civil penalties. Facing accusations of shoplifting can make you feel like no one is around to protect your best interests. Once arrested for theft, you should discuss your legal options with a qualified criminal lawyer in Mississauga.