Colorado Springs Shoplifting Defense Attorneys
Defense for Shoplifting Charges
Shoplifting, which is stealing from a store or place of business, is a serious problem for retailers. Those who commit this type of crime often do so in the heat of the moment. They may see something they truly want and know they can't afford. Other people who don't have the financial means to purchase basic food and clothing may commit this crime out of necessity.
Some may do so accidentally; they try a pair of sunglasses on, for instance, and forget to remove them before exiting the store. Some shoplifters are true "professionals" that are part of sophisticated criminal organizations. In most cases, shoplifting is a case of petty theft but can range higher (such as grand theft) depending on the value of the items stolen. Whatever the case, you will need a theft crime attorney if the authorities have charged you with shoplifting. The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. can help you develop the best possible defense if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
Forms of Shoplifting
The most obvious form of shoplifting is picking up an item from a retail store shelf, concealing it inside a coat, purse or book bag and then exiting the store without paying; however, this is not the only reason why the authorities may charge someone with shoplifting. Eating a meal at a restaurant and leaving without paying the bill is a form of shoplifting, as is eating food inside a store and then discarding the wrapper. Likewise, a customer may be charged with retail theft if they switch an item's price tag to avoid paying the actual price of that item.
Shoplifting Charges: Rules for Retailers
In order for a retail location to detain and successfully lay theft charges against an individual, they must follow a number of guidelines. For instance, merchants must actually observe a customer taking an item. They must see the person conceal merchandise and wait until the shoplifter is outside the store before approaching them. At that point, it is clear that the shoplifter had absolutely no intention of paying for the item. If merchants do not observe one or more of these steps, proving probable cause will be difficult.
Shoplifting Penalties in Colorado
In Colorado, punishments for shoplifting depend mainly on the value of the items that the person took and whether the shoplifter has prior charges. If the value of the merchandise was low and this is your first offense, you will likely not have to serve any jail time and only need to pay a small fine. If, on the other hand, you stole items that were worth $20,000 or more and have past shoplifting charges, you face a potential 12-year jail sentence and possible fines up to $750,000.
Getting Your Life Back on Track After a Shoplifting Charge
Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Colorado Springs to represent you is perhaps the most important first step in getting on with your life after a shoplifting charge. Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555 to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.