Tuscaloosa Shoplifting Lawyer
While shoplifting may seem to be a minor offense, a conviction for this offense in Tuscaloosa can be a serious matter. If the value of the property involved is high enough, the charge can even be a felony.
A Tuscaloosa shoplifting lawyer could help you fight a criminal conviction no matter what form it takes. Even for particularly severe charges, a hard-working theft attorney could work tirelessly to enforce your rights and protect your best interests.
Shoplifting is one of the many forms of theft defined under Alabama state law. In Tuscaloosa, shoplifting occurs when a person knowingly leaves a store premises with items that were not paid for, with the intent to deprive the store of its property.
A unique aspect of shoplifting law in Alabama is a shopkeeper’s privilege to detain suspected shoplifters. Alabama Code §15-10-14 dictates that store owners and their employees may temporarily detain a person that they have probable cause to believe is shoplifting.
This privilege protects the shopkeeper from being accused of false imprisonment, unlawful detention, or false arrest based on a good-faith action. In some cases, however, this may lead to store owners, especially those in high crime areas, overreacting and potentially detaining an innocent person. If warranted, an experienced Tuscaloosa attorney could help a shoplifting defendant contest the notion that their detainment was warranted based on the standard of probable cause.
Possible Penalties for a Shoplifting Conviction
The potential penalties for a shoplifting conviction depend on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. If the property was valued under $500, shoplifting is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable with up to a year in jail. If the property was worth between $500 and $1,499, the offense becomes a Class D felony and is punishable with between one and five years in jail
Shoplifted property that was valued between $1,500 and $2,499 is a Class C felony and carries between one and ten years in jail. Shoplifted property worth $2,500 or more is a Class B felony and comes with between two and 20 years in jail.
Defending Against a Shoplifting Allegation
In certain cases, shoppers forget that they are holding merchandise as they go through the store. If they leave the premises before realizing their mistake, they may be wrongly charged with shoplifting.
As a seasoned attorney could explain, individuals could only be convicted for shoplifting if the prosecutor shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person knowingly took the store property with the intent to keep it. A shoplifting lawyer in Tuscaloosa could help individuals who were subjected to such misunderstandings argue against this interpretation of their actions and hopefully achieve a more beneficial outcome to their case.
Talk to a Tuscaloosa Shoplifting Attorney
Shoplifting allegations may have long-lasting consequences on a person’s social, professional, and personal life. When criminal charges follow such accusations, the help of a Tuscaloosa shoplifting lawyer may be necessary.
Hiring a dedicated criminal attorney could help you learn your rights and legal options. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.