Today many stores have their own security teams and loss prevention teams to monitor their stores for shoplifters. It is one of the most common crimes that people are charged with. If you are stopped in a store and accused of shoplifting, the police will be called by store security, you will be arrested, but usually will not be taken into custody. You will be given and asked to sign a promise to appear by the police and released on the spot. After this you will get a notice to appear in court for an arraignment, usually in about thirty (30) days from your arrest.
What happens at your arraignment depends on whether you are a first offender or have a history of shoplifting. If you have a history of shoplifting you will be told by the court to get a lawyer and your case will be set for trial. If you are a first offender with no criminal background, you will be offered a pre-trial diversion program that I have discussed in other blogs, or probation to close the case out quickly. It is imperative if you have prior criminal history to hire a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not get adjudicated for the crime or sentenced to jail. If you are a first offender and want to challenge the charge against you, you will need to hire a lawyer and have the case set for trial. When you come back to court the witnesses from the store will testify as to what they saw and your lawyer will challenge the evidence against you.
Hiring a lawyer to help you get the best possible result in your case is inexpensive if you are a first offender and charged with misdemeanor shoplifting. It usually costs in the range of $750-$1,500 to hire a lawyer for this type of case. The fee paid is case specific but this range is what you should expect to pay. Additionally, by hiring a lawyer you will not have to go to court (if you are charged with a misdemeanor) and if you are inclined to take a plea. A lawyer will have you sign an authority to represent and enter your plea for you. This will save you the time and hassle of attending a court hearing. The key to success in defending your shoplifting case is getting the charge dismissed or being sentenced to a withhold of adjudication. Either one will allow you to get your record sealed at the end of your case. If you have other questions contact the office Yale Galanter.
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