Houston Criminal Law Blog


How to Fight a Shoplifting Charge

When it comes to a shoplifting arrest, many people assume that they will automatically be found guilty of it. They also think that since it is a misdemeanor crime, there is no need to try to challenge the case in a court of law. If you’ve been arrested for shoplifting, you might be surprised to find that there are sometimes very effective ways of defending these charges.

Elements of Shoplifting

As with any criminal offense, all of the elements of the act must be met in order to prove an individual’s guilt. Shoplifting requires two things:

  • Intentional concealment or actual possession of an item of merchandise
  • The intent to permanently deprive a retailer of the item without offering payment. This means that the store will need to show you had intent before you can be found guilty of shoplifting. There are a number of instances whereby you could have been charged with theft of merchandise, yet not had the intent to deprive the store of merchandise. If the act was simply an oversight, you could have a valid defense in a court of law.

Cross-Examining Witnesses

Shoplifting cases are sometimes built solely on the availability of eyewitness testimony, which may or may not be accurate. As such, part of a defense strategy will likely be to challenge any witness statement by performing a vigorous cross-examination. If a lawyer can raise reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors, an acquittal could easily result due to the presence of “reasonable doubt.”

Plea Bargaining

If it appears the evidence is overwhelming, a defense attorney can often arrange for a satisfactory plea deal with the prosecutor. Many times, these offenses can result in some counts being dropped or deferred adjudication, which would later pave the way for charges to be sealed or even expunged.

As with any criminal charge, shoplifting should not be taken lightly. Your best outcome is likely to happen whenever you seek assistance from an experience defense attorney rather than trying to handle it alone.

Contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100 if you need to speak with a shoplifting lawyer.

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