Understanding DC Shoplifting Charges

The laws concerning shoplifting fall within a specific shoplifting statute in DC. Shoplifting is in Title 22, Section 3213 of the D.C. Criminal Code, which lays out precisely what shoplifting is. There are a few different types of shoplifting in DC. Essentially, shoplifting is when someone takes property from a business and walks out with it or takes property from a business without the intent to pay for it. Also, shoplifting is when someone alters or removes a price tag or any other identifying mark of a property in order to keep or take it, if someone takes the item out of the packaging and puts it in their own bag, or if a person takes property out of the factory or store packaging.

Understanding DC shoplifting charges is essential to building an effective defense. Therefore, if you are facing charges, you should reach out to an experienced shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible.

How is Shoplifting Different Than Theft?

In DC, there is a general theft statute that is distinct from the shoplifting statute, which applies to most instances of the unlawful taking of property. Technically, the element of shoplifting will be included in the aspects of theft. Theft is taking property from someone else without permission. In theory, someone could be charged with both shoplifting and theft. Shoplifting is a more specific type of theft, and it involves taking property in a certain way. Shoplifting is taking from a business without the intent to pay for it, altering the price tag or the identification of that property, or taking it out of its packaging. It involves similar elements to theft, but it is a more narrow and distinctive type of crime.

In a shoplifting case, there are specific details and elements that need to be met in terms of what exactly the person is alleged to have done. The theft, which is taking property without permission, has different elements. Shoplifting requires a few various factors but has some specific behavior in terms of concealing property, altering it, or moving it about in the store.

A shoplifting offense also differs because it is considered a less-significant offense and a lower-level misdemeanor. Often, there is more opportunity in a shoplifting case to negotiate for a diversion program or some sort of alternative resolution short of a conviction than in other theft cases.

Shoplifting Defenses

A shoplifting defense differs from other theft-related offenses because there are distinct elements, so there may be different arguments or appeals made to the trier-of-fact, the judge. The alleged victim is different in shoplifting cases. In a shoplifting case, it is a business establishment as opposed to an individual, so there could be different appeals made to the judge, depending on what witnesses are present for the government. It depends on the facts of the case, but it is going to be determined by those different and distinct elements that are present in a shoplifting charge and not present in a theft charge. A lawyer who has a great understanding of DC shoplifting charges could build a strong defense.

How an Attorney Could Help

Shoplifting charges carry significant penalties and long-term consequences. Shoplifting penalties include jail time and significant fines. Also, a shoplifting conviction could impact a person’s personal and professional life.

If you are facing shoplifting charges, you should reach out to an accomplished lawyer today. An attorney could help you with building an effective defense. Also, understanding DC shoplifting charges could help you reach a favorable outcome to your case.