Indiana Shoplifting Defense Attorney
Most people may think of shoplifting as a minor offense. However, Indiana criminal law takes shoplifting much more seriously. If convicted of a shoplifting charge, you can be punished with lengthy jail time and hefty fines. In some cases, you may even face felony charges that can seriously jeopardize your future and your reputation
Being accused of shoplifting can be a humiliating experience that nobody wants to go through. Your life can change in an instant following a theft crime or shoplifting accusation. If you face a shoplifting charge, either a misdemeanor or felony, working with a credible Indiana criminal defense attorney can be crucial to securing a positive outcome for your case.
Why Do I Need a Shoplifting Defense Attorney in Indiana?
If you have been accused of shoplifting, you are probably worried about how your life will turn out as a result of your arrest. You may be greatly concerned about spending time in jail or getting a permanent criminal record. However, with the help of a reliable Elkhart shoplifting defense attorney, you can have a higher chance of dropping or reducing their charges and avoiding strict penalties.
At Wilson & Kinsman LLC, we have extensive experience in representing numerous clients accused of shoplifting crimes in Elkhart, Michiana, South Bend, Goshen, and neighboring counties in Indiana. While each case is unique, we first attempt to negotiate a favorable and acceptable plea for our clients. If those options aren’t right, we do not hesitate to take matters to trial. We work hard for our clients to get the results they deserve.
Secure your freedom and your future now. Contact our law office today and schedule an initial consultation.
What is Shoplifting?
Shoplifting refers to an act of unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it. This illegal act is a type of theft or larceny, which means taking someone else’s property without permission and intentionally depriving the owner of the property taken. A knowledgeable shoplifting defense lawyer in Elkhart IN can help you understand the nature of this criminal charge.
However, successfully leaving the store with unpaid merchandise is not the only way to commit a shoplifting crime. Simply concealing merchandise, inside or outside the store, can be enough to be charged with a crime. Every state’s criminal code includes provisions that apply to shoplifting. Indiana shoplifting laws also make it illegal to take action to avoid paying the full purchase price for an item. This can include:
- Altering price tags
- Manipulating merchandise
- Removing an item from its packaging and concealing it in or among other merchandise
What are the Penalties for a Shoplifting Charge in Indiana?
Indiana does not have a specific shoplifting statute. Instead, shoplifting is charged like any other theft offense, and it is based on the value of the property allegedly stolen. Depending on the value of the items, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a higher-level felony. Low-level offenses tend to receive much more lenient sentences than those involving more expensive goods. If certain items, like drugs, firearms, or flammable devices are shoplifted, the severity of charges could be increased.
The specific penalties will depend on numerous factors including a prior criminal record. Offenders without any prior convictions may qualify for a pre-trial diversion program which can lead to a dismissal of charges. Since the consequences of shoplifting are complex, it is necessary to seek legal advice from a skilled Elkhart shoplifting defense lawyer to secure your rights and avoid maximum penalties. Depending on the state laws and specific factors, the penalties for shoplifting charges are as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor: If you stole less than $750 in merchandise, you could be punished with a maximum of incarceration for 1 year in the county jail and fines up to $5,000.
- Level 6 Felony: A first or second conviction involving property value between $750 and $49, 999 is a Class 6 felony carrying a maximum penalty of 2.5 years in prison and $10,000 in fine.
- Level 5 Felony: If you stole more than $50,000 in merchandise, you could be punished with a maximum penalty of 6 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.
What are the Defenses for a Shoplifting Charge in Indiana?
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid all or most of the penalties for an Indiana shoplifting conviction. With the right representation and knowledge of a qualified Elkhart shoplifting defense lawyer, you can fight your shoplifting charges and avoid the maximum penalties typically handed down in court upon sentencing.
There are many ways to defend against a shoplifting charge. Here are some of the most effective defenses against shoplifting charges in the state of Indiana:
Lack of Intent
One of the ways that shoplifting and theft are defined is when someone had the intent to take something that did not belong to them. If you can prove that you had no intent to take the property, then you may have a successful defense.
Proving that you do not have an intention to shoplift usually involves reviewing surveillance camera footage. A video clip that shows the item falling into your bag or being placed in your pocket by someone else can help in the dismissal of your case.
To be proven guilty of a theft-related offense, you must take an item without the owner’s permission. If the owner gave you consent to borrow or take the item, then you did not commit a crime. This defense must be supported by a consent-granting text, email, or any written communication from the owner. In addition, witness testimony can also work.
If another person has used violence or threatened to force you into shoplifting, you are unlikely to face any charges. Instead, you may be able to have them arrested and charged if you can identify the individual who coerced you into stealing. The coercion defense requires sufficient evidence to support your claim, including threatening text messages or medical reports proving the acts of violence.
Call Our Experienced Elkhart Shoplifting Defense Attorneys Now!
Most people don’t consider shoplifting to be a particularly grave theft-related crime. However, Indiana takes theft and shoplifting seriously, which is why the consequences of such an act can be so significant. Whether or not you spend jail or prison time, you are faced with a criminal record for life, which may impact your employment and career among other aspects of your life.
With this type of crime on your permanent record, you may have a hard time getting a job. Potential employers will not trust you, particularly if the job would have you around cash or merchandise. If you have been accused of shoplifting, it is crucial to seek legal advice from our seasoned Elkhart shoplifting defense attorneys at Wilson & Kinsman LLC and discuss your defense options.
Our criminal defense law firm can guide you through the legal process, negotiate with the prosecuting attorney, and represent you in court. We understand how to argue a case in a way that is compelling to the judge and jury. We can review the details of your case and help you better understand your legal options.