Shoplifting is perhaps the most common theft charge. It’s often seen as the type of crime young people commit when they are looking for a thrill, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes people steal from retail establishments because they feel like they have to. While necessity isn’t a viable defense in court, it could explain why you did what you did.
Maybe you needed something and didn’t have the money for it. You likely didn’t think you would get caught and decided the payoff was worth the risk. Now you are facing criminal charges and probably regretting your decision.
While it might seem like everyone is out to get you—that you are being judged even before your court date—a criminal defense attorney is your one advocate within the courts.
The prosecutor is there to gain a conviction. And the police don’t want to see their hard work end in a dismissal. So, you’re right in thinking that the majority of players in the courtroom would like to see you convicted of this shoplifting offense. When up against this kind of pressure, a defense lawyer is there to ensure you are treated fairly.
Missouri Shoplifting Laws and Penalties
Shoplifting penalties in Missouri are severe. A $20 shirt could wind up costing you your freedom. As it is with most states, the penalty you face for a shoplifting offense is based on the value of the goods you are accused of taking.
If the goods are valued at less than $500, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This Class A misdemeanor carries a potential penalty of up to 1 year in jail and fines.
If, however, the goods are valued at more than $500 and less than $25,000, you will face Class C felony charges. Typically, felony shoplifting carries anywhere from 1 to 7 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
A local Missouri defense attorney can help you determine the best course of action given the facts of your case. If this is your first offense, they may be able to work out a favorable plea agreement with the prosecution.
In cases where you are simply not guilty of the allegations against you, your defense lawyer will be tasked with trying to discredit any evidence the prosecution has. This could mean motioning the court to suppress false eyewitness identification or pointing out errors in the police report.
Anytime you are facing criminal charges, you need a local defense lawyer on your side. Contact us to speak with one of our criminal defense attorney in Missouri today.