Shoplifting Charges in Maryland
Shoplifting falls under the theft statute in Maryland and it can carry serious penalties if the accused is found guilty, including fines and/or jail time. You could also have reputational damage and struggle to find employment in the future, as a conviction will be public record. It is extremely important to hire an attorney that will build a defense strategy in your case. Caroline Norman Frost is a local lawyer with the necessary knowledge of the Maryland court system who can present your case in the light most favorable to you. If you have been charged with shoplifting, call 240-213-1802 for a free legal consultation.
How does the State prove a shoplifting case? In most shoplifting cases, a report from the store employee or loss prevention associate will be provided to the prosecutor. Typically, surveillance from within the store will be provided as well. In a shoplifting case, the prosecutor will have to provide evidence in court which proves all of the elements of theft. A defendant is entitled to receive this evidence prior to trial. Proving the elements includes the prosecutor having to show that the defendant took and carried away the property of another person, or in this case a store, and did so with the intent to permanently deprive them (the store) of the property. The prosecutor must also prove that the person actually did remove the items from the store after going past all points of sale.
Strategy in a shoplifting case: Passing all points of sale is an element of shoplifting that is not required in other types of theft. This element is ripe for strategic arguments. If you pass the check out lines, then you most likely have passed all points of sale. Many stores have self- checkout stands and this modern form of checkout has created new strategy for defense attorneys representing clients in shoplifting cases. There are complications with self-checkouts because there are people who justifiably may not understand how to use these machines. Sometimes the customer thought that they were scanning all of their items when in fact they were not. Sometimes security camera footage can be used to establish whether not scanning items was unintentional, or whether they purposefully neglected to scan their item.
The importance of preparing a defense and first steps: First, Caroline Norman Frost will interview you, review the allegations, and then ask to hear your recollection of events. The details of the case from the state and from you are important. After entering her appearance as your attorney, if she is hired, Caroline will request all evidence against you and witness contact information. From there, she will assess which facts can likely be proven by the state, and what elements of the crime are met or not met. Remember, the burden of proof is on the state, and you are innocent until proven guilty. Caroline will move to suppress illegally obtained and inadmissible evidence, targeting the state’s ability to meet that burden. As a former prosecutor, she knows what issues to look for and weaknesses to point out.
Call the Law Office of Caroline Norman Frost for a free consultation at 240-213-1802.