Shoplifting may seem like a trivial thing, but it is punishable by law. Some people might consider it a minor offense, but it can destroy your reputation and make you appear a felon in the eyes of the law. In Virginia, there are laws about shoplifting. If you are caught in the act, you are fined, and you also have to face jail time. Anyone who has been detained for this crime can get an attorney and the attorney can help in reducing the jail time or even lowering the due amount to be paid in fine.
Shoplifting as a Crime
The Section 18.2-103 of Virginia’s Laws indicates shoplifting as a crime. According to this law, anyone who has taken good or things from a shop or business without paying the full price has defrauded the owner of that place to the value of that merchandise. A person qualifies as a shoplifter if he or she:
Has taken things from an establishment without paying for it or without the consent of the merchandise owner
Takes the things from one container to another one or changes the price tag on the goods
A person who is involved in the above-mentioned acts in a way that he is helping someone do it, he is also a shoplifter. If the cost of those things that have been stolen is around $200, the offense is regarded as petty larceny. When the value is more than $200, it is regarded as grand larceny. In case of such crime, there is a fine of $2500 and a jail time of up to 12 months.
Defense for Shoplifter
There are many defenses that an attorney can give for you if you have unintentionally shoplifted. A defense attorney may say that you did not intend to shoplift or that you mistook identity. Also, an attorney can also reduce the fine that you have to pay by proving that the value for theft was less than $200.
All cases are different, and there are different circumstances in every situation. A security officer may let you go at the moment, but if they file charges, things can get messy for you.
When you are charged with shoplifting, you end with a lot of other problems too. Employers will not hire you if you have a shoplifting charge in your record. It also lands you in financial and emotional stress because you need to pay the fine and you are under stress due to the charges too. It also tarnishes your reputation in your workplace and your family.
If you have a charge on your record, you are likely to be suspected more the next time because people would expect you to do it again. Anyone who is guilty of such offenses would also make it hard for you to get a loan or to apply to educational institutes because reputation matters a lot. It is better to be aware of the charges and possible punishments so that you can defend yourself too.