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Retail Theft Lawyer in Wheeling
In West Virginia, retail theft is a prevalent crime that law enforcement officers deal with regularly. It involves the act of taking merchandise from a store without paying for it. If you’re facing charges related to this offense, it is crucial to have a skilled West Virginia criminal defense attorney by your side to guide you through the complex court system.
People commit retail theft for various reasons, regardless of their socio-economic background. Some individuals engage in shoplifting as a form of amusement, finding pleasure in sneaking items past cashiers and security guards. Others steal because they desire something they cannot afford, while some resort to shoplifting out of necessity due to financial constraints.
Regardless of the underlying motive, shoplifting is a severe crime and carries long-lasting consequences. Offenders are left with a criminal record that can hinder career opportunities, limit housing options, and restrict educational experiences. Moreover, shoplifters face social stigma and may find it challenging to regain the trust of those around them. In some cases, individuals convicted of retail theft may even face difficulty retaining custody of their children. Furthermore, with a theft charge on their record, offenders may be banned from entering the store they stole from, limiting their ability to shop in person.
The West Virginia Revised Code, specifically Chapter 29, Section 2913.02, defines retail theft and shoplifting as the intentional act of depriving the owner of property or services without consent. It includes taking control of the items through threats, deception, or intimidation, without the authorization of the rightful owner or any authorized entity.
The charges for retail theft vary based on the total value of the stolen goods:
First-degree misdemeanor petty theft applies when the total value is less than $1,000. Penalties for this charge can include fines of up to $1,000 and a potential jail sentence of up to six months.
Facing the penalties of felony theft can be daunting, particularly if the stolen items are valued over $1,000. Such charges may lead to fines up to $20,000 and a maximum imprisonment of 11 years. The severity of consequences escalates based on the stolen items and the offender’s criminal record. Moreover, individuals may be required to provide restitution and may even face civil lawsuits from the victims.
However, despite the seriousness of a retail theft conviction, there are defense strategies that a skilled and dedicated Wheeling WV criminal attorney can employ to potentially reduce or dismiss the charges. Your attorney can argue that you did not steal the items or that you lacked the intention to steal. It’s also possible to claim that you simply forgot about the item(s) in your possession at the checkout. In certain situations, if you were compelled under duress or in fear for your safety, your Wheeling WV OVI attorney can assert that you were forced to commit theft. Furthermore, if the property you are accused of stealing is something you already own and have paid for, a valid defense can be established.
It’s crucial to provide your attorney with every detail of your shopping trip and the subsequent arrest. No detail is too small, as it could make a significant difference between conviction and dismissal. Openly share all relevant information with your Wheeling WV criminal lawyer.
When faced with retail theft charges, it is imperative to have a competent and dedicated criminal defense attorney by your side. At Mountaineer Criminal Law Group, we are committed to vigorously defending our clients by conducting thorough research and deploying aggressive defense strategies. Reach out to us today at (304) 381-3656 or visit our website to schedule a consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist you.
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