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Top Lihue, HI Shoplifting Lawyers Near You

Shoplifting Lawyers | Lihue Office

4028 Rice Street, Suite B, Lihue, HI 96766

Lihue Shoplifting Information

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Find a Shoplifting Attorney near Lihue

What Is Considered Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is typically described as the unlawful and intentional removal of a product from a store or retail establishment without paying for it. Considered to be one of the most common crimes committed in the United States, and often lumped in with larceny-theft offenses more broadly, shoplifting remains on the radar of most law enforcement agencies.

Types of Shoplifting

Shoplifting can fall under the crime of theft, which is defined as the taking of a person’s property without consent and with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. Shoplifting is more specifically the theft of goods from a retail establishment and can involve physically removing an item from a store without paying, price switching, refund fraud, returning clothes after they have been worn and even eating food in a supermarket as you shop that you do not pay for. Depending on the specifics of your case an attorney can help explain to you the charges against you and the various possible defenses to your case.

What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is considered to be a form of theft or larceny, as opposed to both robbery and burglary. While shoplifting requires no threat of force whatsoever (merely the misappropriation of goods that you haven’t paid for), robbery does require a threat of force or actual use of force in order to fall into the definition.

Burglary, on the other hand, requires that the offender break into and enter the premises where they intend to commit a theft. Shoplifting has no such requirement, and is typically conducted during normal business hours of the targeted establishment.

Is Shoplifting a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Shoplifting can be pursued as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the state in which the crime was committed as well as the value of the item(s) allegedly having been stolen.

In some states, a shoplifting charge is classified as a misdemeanor — petty theft — if the sum value of the goods stolen is less than $400. If the value of the items is instead greater than $400, felony grand theft charges are more likely to be filed against the defendant.

Have You Been Charged with Shoplifting?

If you have been charged with shoplifting, you will have the option to hire an attorney or have one appointed to you. Hiring a skilled shoplifting attorney can help protect your rights before and during trial.

Can You Go to Jail for Shoplifting?

While civil remedies such as fines for infraction-level shoplifting are quite common, particularly if the offender is underage, misdemeanor and felony shoplifting charges can result in jail time.

In response to misdemeanor petty theft charges originating from an act of shoplifting, penalties vary from state to state. However, broadly speaking, those convicted for this level of the offense usually face a sentence of no more than six months in county jail in addition to any fines or restitution ordered by the court.

Felony offenses are much more severe, and if convicted of felony grand theft based on shoplifting, you could face a prison term of up to one year.

What Happens if You Get Caught Shoplifting on Camera?

If you are caught shoplifting while under camera surveillance, it is quite likely that you will be detained either by private security, loss prevention agents or local police and then charged with the offense.

There are several defenses that can be deployed in court despite being caught on camera, depending on the circumstances. If it could be argued that an item dropped into your purse without your knowledge, it may be difficult for any prosecutor to prove the element of intent required in a criminal trial. If you place an object in a shopping cart, say in the cage beneath the primary cage, and leave the store without paying for the item, it could be argued that you simply forgot it was even there.

In any case, being caught on camera while having taken an item without paying for it can be an important piece of evidence against you. If you are facing charges of this nature, securing skilled and experienced legal counsel should be a priority.

Can You Get Caught Shoplifting After You Leave the Store?

You can still be caught and charged with shoplifting after leaving a store. Eyewitness accounts (whether staff or other shoppers) and more commonly video evidence, can lead to shoplifting charges.

Simply having escaped with the unlawfully taken product does not mean that you cannot later be charged with the commission of the crime.

Whether or not you can face charges after leaving the store largely depends on how quickly a case is brought against you in response to any alleged acts of shoplifting, as well as the state’s statute of limitations concerning both misdemeanor and larceny theft.

Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney

  • How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
  • What is the likely outcome for my case?

In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.

Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation

  • Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
  • Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
  • Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
  • Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.

How to Find the Right Attorney

  • Determine the area of law that relates to your issue. Attorneys specialize in specific practice areas around legal issues within the broad field of law.
  • Seek out recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. A successful attorney or practice will typically have many satisfied clients.
  • Set up consultation appointments to get a better understanding of your case as well as gauge your comfort level with different attorneys. Find the attorney who is the right fit for your needs.

Common legal terms explained

Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.

Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.

Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.

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