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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Arrested for holiday shoplifting? Here are 3 defense strategies

If law enforcement arrests you for shoplifting during the holiday season, you are not alone. According to FBI statistics, the rate of shoplifting arrests spikes during November and December. 

Whatever the reason you are facing charges for shoplifting between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is important to develop a solid legal defense. Here are a few common shoplifting defense strategies.

1. Proving lack of intent

In order to achieve a shoplifting conviction, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you had the intent to conceal or steal an item to deprive the retailer of the item without payment. Here are some examples of reasons someone may walk out of a store with an unpurchased item without having the intent to shoplift:

  • Distraction by a phone conversation or text message
  • Pre-occupation with an unruly child
  • Intoxication causing the inability to form intent

A person in this type of situation makes a mistake.

2. Challenging video evidence or witness testimony

Most stores have security cameras to catch shoplifters. Sometimes, surveillance footage is not as reliable as store owners and prosecutors claim it is. The recording may not clearly show your face, or there may be a lapse in the footage. In other circumstances, the shoplifting charge may be based on testimony from a witness. If this is the case, you may be able to prove the witness has a bias against you.

3. Negotiating a plea bargain

Sometimes, it is difficult to avoid a shoplifting charge if there is enough evidence against you. If it seems as if the judge may convict you, your lawyer may advise you on how to pursue a plea bargain. A plea bargain occurs when you plead guilty in exchange for a less severe punishment. 

shoplifting charge from a store can result in serious criminal repercussions, but you may be able to get the charges reduced or thrown out.

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