Thursday, 7 July 2016

Shoplifting, Stealing, and Theft: A First Time Offense

Just about anything and everything can be shoplifted, from jewellery, alcohol and cheese to medicine and cleaning products. There is no specific item that is shoplifted, however there is always a price to pay.

Shoplifting is a complicated crime though, and because of this, if you are caught shoplifting you should always contact your lawyer and work with them to solve the problem:

1. What is the value of the item or items that you stole?

2. Were you intoxicated when the incident occurred?

3. Do the items indicate that you have a drug problem?

4. Did you involve others in a plan to steal the items? If so, how many people? Were any of them minors, people with mental health issues, people with developmental disabilities, or people who were elderly?

5. Were you stopped by a security officer or store merchants who tried to recover the items? What happened as a result of that interaction?

6. Were you caught on videotape, or on another type of recording device, such as audio tape?

7. What is your criminal history?

8. Can you pay back the merchant right away? This may encourage them to decline to testify against you.

Even if this is your first offense, you can be charged with a felony. For example, if you have stolen a 24-karat gold chain, or a child was involved in the act, you will not be offered the same plea bargain as a person alleged of slipping a pack of mints into their pocket.

The first thing you should do is ask your attorney to talk to the merchant. See if the merchant will accept payment in return to drop the charges. Have you been charged with a criminal offence? Let NICRO help you out during this tough time, we can offer a wide range of services to you, just click here.

You may be offered the chance to participate in a NICRO diversion programmme. A diversion programmme is a type of plea bargain. In this program, you usually complete community service hours and pay the court a fine. You are also instructed not to commit another alleged offense for a set period.
If you get a second charge, especially for shoplifting, it is extremely unlikely that you will get a second chance to participate in a diversion program.

If the public prosecutor or judge decides not to offer you the chance to participate in a diversion program, you need to decide whether you want to challenge the accusations in a trial or take a plea bargain. If you were intoxicated at the time of the incident, or the items that you took indicate that you have a drug problem, consider contacting NICRO to take part in one of their many helpful programmes or seek help from a counsellor. The charges may be dropped if you are taking action to avoid a similar situation.

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