DC Shoplifting Lawyer

While shopping could be a fun outing, individuals accused of shoplifting by police officers could face serious consequences.

If the court finds a person guilty of shoplifting, the punishment could affect their freedom and their pocketbook, among other potential negative consequences.

To fully protect yourself, it may be necessary to enlist the services of a DC shoplifting lawyer who is familiar with the local court rules and laws related to shoplifting. Your well-practiced attorney could explain your rights and what options are available to you.

If the government has accused you or a loved one of shoplifting, it may be imperative that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

Shoplifting Laws in Washington DC

The District of Columbia defines shoplifting in the Code of the District of Columbia. Shoplifting typically includes more than the mere stealing of inventory from a store. The courts could find a person guilty of shoplifting if that person intends to take property offered for sale without completely paying for it. As defined by the Code of the District of Columbia Section 22-3212, shoplifting could also include any act intended to defraud the shop owner by doing any of the following:

  • Hiding or taking possession of the goods
  • Removing or changing the price tag or other identifying marks on the goods
  • Changing the package of the goods from its original package to a different one

The government typically does not punish attempts to shoplift.

Punishment for Shoplifting

If the court finds a person guilty of shoplifting, the court could impose a fine of no more than $500, no more than 90 days in jail, or both. If the police charge a person with second-degree theft, the court could punish the person with a fine of up to $1,000 and no more than 180 days in jail. A DC attorney could help you build a defense case for shoplifting.

Detainment by Shoplifting Plaintiffs

As stated by the Code of the District of Columbia Section 22-3212, if a shop improperly detains a suspected shoplifter, the suspected shoplifter could charge the store with any of the following charges:

  • Detention
  • False imprisonment
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Defamation
  • False arrest

The shop and its agents may only detain someone if there was probable cause to believe the person detained committed an act of shoplifting in the shop agent’s presence. If a person was illegally detained during an alleged shoplifting, a DC attorney could help the person press charges.

The detention must also be reasonable and the police must be notified within a reasonable time period. The person detained must have been released or surrendered to law enforcement within a reasonable time (Code of the District of Columbia Section 22-3212).

Reach Out to a Washington DC Shoplifting Lawyer

If you are concerned that a store may accuse you of shoplifting, it may be wise to act quickly. An attorney could help you figure out if you have any defenses to any charges brought against you. A representative could also advise you of other strategies which may help you prevent or reduce any negative consequences from a shoplifting charge.

When you are facing threats to your freedom, you could have someone on your side that has the knowledge and skills to help you with a very specific problem. Consider calling a Washington DC lawyer today.