Theft is a non-violent crime, but still a serious one. A conviction for theft is the kind of thing that can cripple a person’s future, since very few employers are inclined to hire people who have been convicted of stealing someone’s property. Theft, and particularly shoplifting, is also a crime often committed by younger offenders who may lack the ability or maturity to think ahead and imagine life as an adult with a criminal conviction that will never go away. Despite this, many people charged with non-violent offenses think it easier to plead guilty, pay a fine and forget the matter than to fight the charge. But before making that irreversible decision, contact me to find out what your legal rights are, and what the long-term consequences of a guilty plea will be. Also, depending on the value of the items, stealing property can result in multiple years in prison.
Theft is simply unlawfully appropriating (taking) property that doesn’t belong to you, with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. The victim may be an individual or a store or a company, or even the government. The punishment range for theft cases is based on the value of the property stolen, and can range from a Class C misdemeanor citation all the way to a first-degree felony.
It is not unusual for a store customer to be charged with shoplifting for carrying an object in a pocket on the way to the checkout counter, or for theft charges to result from another misunderstanding. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged theft, I am often able to get charges dismissed or reduced. Even when one of my clients decides to plead guilty, I work with the court and negotiate with the prosecutor to find a favorable sentencing option, such as a conditional dismissal or reduction to a lesser offense upon completion of an anti-theft class and payment of restitution.
It is extremely important to mount a strong defense against any kind of theft or property crime charge. Pleading guilty and taking a conviction, especially for a first offender, is almost never advisable.
If you or a family member have been arrested or charged with any theft offense, I can help you. Call me or email me directly from this page. Your initial consultation will be free of charge.