Top Gering, NE Shoplifting Lawyers Near You

Shoplifting Lawyers | Scottsbluff Office | Serving Gering, NE

180340 River Road, PO Box 1724, Scottsbluff, NE 69363

Gering Shoplifting Information

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Find a Shoplifting Attorney near Gering

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.

What sort of issues can I seek legal help with?

Specialized legal help is available for most legal issues. Each case is unique; seeking legal help is a smart first step toward understanding your legal situation and seeking the best path toward resolution for your case. An experienced lawyer understands the local laws surrounding your case and what your best legal options might be. More importantly, there are certain situations and circumstances – such as being charged with a crime – where you should always seek experienced legal help.

The Importance of a Good Consultation

The goal of an initial consultation is to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and someone who can help you understand your options under the law. Seek to understand the relevant legal experience the attorney brings to your case. While it is not realistic to expect an attorney to resolve your legal issue during an initial consultation, you should gain a level of comfort with his/her ability to do so. A good consultation can clarify issues, raise pertinent questions and considerations for your case, and help you make an informed decision towards resolving your legal issue.

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

Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.

Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.

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