Unlike some jurisdictions, there is no specific criminal offense for shoplifting in Junction City. That does not mean the act is not illegal, however, as it is covered by the offense of theft. Theft charges have the potential to lead to serious consequences, but a skilled defense attorney could help avoid some of the most severe penalties by mounting a strong defense.
If you are facing accusations of shoplifting, do not wait to take legal action. A Junction City shoplifting lawyer could assess your case and fight for your rights in court.
What Qualifies as Shoplifting?
Generally, shoplifting occurs when a person intentionally leaves a store with merchandise without paying for it. Shoplifting is an informal term, as state law does not recognize it as a unique criminal act. However, shoplifting does fall under the state’s general theft statute.
In Junction City, theft covers a variety of acts that are done with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of a possession permanently. This statute could be violated when a person takes another person’s property using deception or through unauthorized taking. Intentionally leaving a store with an item that was not paid for falls under these acts.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Junction City
The penalties for shoplifting are based entirely on the value of the item that was allegedly stolen. All theft crimes, including shoplifting, have penalties that scale based on the value of what is stolen. An attorney well-versed in local laws could help an individual understand the charges they may be facing based on the unique facts of their case.
Given the nature of shoplifting, these cases typically involve the alleged theft of items that are relatively inexpensive. That does not mean the consequences of a conviction are low. The theft of any item valued at less than $1,000 is punished with a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of no more than $1,000. The penalty associated with shoplifting an item worth less than $1,000 increases to a felony for anyone with two or more prior theft convictions. In these cases, a conviction could lead to as much as 17 months behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.
Possible Defenses for Shoplifting Charges
Like with any criminal charge, there are possible defenses in a shoplifting case. Each case is different, and the facts will determine what defense is appropriate. An experienced Junction City attorney could help develop a strong defense in a shoplifting case.
One of the most important defense options involves intent. Shoplifting is a crime of intent, meaning that an accident will not qualify as a criminal act. If a defendant can show that they did not take merchandise from the store with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it, they should be acquitted at trial. This could occur when a person mistakenly places something in their bag and walks out without paying. Other defenses could involve a lack of evidence or mistaken identity.
Reach Out to a Junction City Shoplifting Attorney Right Away
If you or someone you love has been charged with shoplifting, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take next. A Junction City shoplifting lawyer could see you through this challenging time. With the right defense strategy, a favorable outcome could be possible. Call our office today to get started on your case. A dedicated member of our legal team could review the facts of your case and work with you to build a strong defense.