Are you caught off guard by that wrong accusation of shoplifting on you? If you are found stealing a product from a store or a business place, not paying at a restaurant/hotel after using their services, eating at a grocery store without paying for it, or swapping an item’s price tag to avoid paying the actual price, you face shoplifting charges.
Then, there also might be situations when a product might accidently be found in your possession or someone might have slid an item into your pocket without you realizing, or you might have forgotten removing an item after trying it on yourself. In such situations, you get wrongfully accused of this crime. Colorado is a state where this offense is considered serious and comes with severe consequences and penalties.
Before you start imagining the deadly consequences that are going to follow, let me remind you about one thing that might go unnoticed between all the complications and stress: Your rights. Being a layman, you wouldn’t normally be aware of all your rights in much depth and how you should go about exercising them. This is one reason why hiring an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney could be your best bet. He not only can educate you of all your rights, but also assist in exercising each right at appropriate times.
Have a look at these rights which you should essentially be aware of if you are accused of shoplifting charges:
Depending on the class of misdemeanor or felony that a particular shoplifting offense falls in, the penalties could include fines between $350 to $ 750,000, and imprisonment between 3 months to a maximum of 24 years, in addition to several other harsh consequences (like probation, work release sentence, etc.).
- You have the right to remain silent and not answer questions until police or a lawyer are present, and you have the right to request them at any time.
- You have the right to refuse to get your bags searched by the security personnel of the store. If they forcefully do it, they are committing a criminal assault, for which you can sue them. Any searches and seizures can only happen based on a reasonable or a probable cause.
- In order to detain you, the store has to have a probable and reasonable cause (through evidence such as surveillance video, observations of employees/customers, statements made by the suspect, the location of the stolen property, its condition, etc.). They have to actually see you take the item and put it in your hand or conceal it, and carry it away from its location and depart the store or walk towards the exit with the item concealed.
- You have the right to refuse to be detained and the store cannot use excessive force in your detainment.
- You have the right to a due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you.
- The store does not have the right to keep you confined in a small space or a single room without allowing you to leave the space.
- You have the right to request a police presence and legal representation at any time.
- You have the right to not incriminate yourself if you’re charged with shoplifting.
- If the store claims they have witnesses who observed you shoplifting, you have the right to question that witness’ suitability for a probable cause, either to the police or your legal representation if you’re charged.
- You have the right to not sign any statements which the security personnel of the store might want you to sign right away to make you own to shoplifting immediately.
Role of Shoplifting Defense Attorney:
- A skilled and expert shoplifting defense attorney can represent your case to drop your charges completely, or in certain cases, reduce them to a minimum possible.
- He can review your case with patience, sit down with you to counsel you of all your available options, educate you about your rights, help you exercise them, while also making sure that none of your rights go violated during the entire legal procedures.
- He can identify any right that gets violated during the legal procedures, which could help make your case strong.
- He can answer all your queries and clear all possible doubts.
- He knows of strategic ways to negotiate plea bargains skillfully, in order to limit your penalties.
- He can review every piece of evidence recorded against you and identify the leaks and flaws, if any.
Wrongfully accused of shoplifting? Are you aware of all your rights?
By Steven J. Pisani |
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