How to Beat a Walmart Theft Charge in Florida – Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney
Petit theft, commonly referred to as shoplifting, is a serious offense in the state of Florida. Retailers like Wal-Mart take shoplifting very seriously and are likely to prosecute anyone who they believe has committed petit theft on their premises. Based upon the thousands of theft charges we have defended, we would estimate that over 90% of all theft arrests take place at a Wal-Mart location. A conviction for petit theft can result in significant fines, jail time, and a criminal record, which can impact your life in numerous ways. If you’re facing Wal-Mart petit theft charges, it’s essential to understand the legal options available to you.
Strategies to Beat Walmart Petit Theft Charges
The following are some strategies that a Florida criminal defense lawyer might employ to help you beat Wal-Mart petit theft charges:
- Challenge the Evidence – One of the primary strategies a criminal defense attorney might use to challenge a petit theft charge is to challenge the evidence. Wal-Mart loss prevention personnel are often the ones who investigate shoplifting incidents on their premises. These individuals may use video surveillance footage, eyewitness testimony, and other evidence to build a case against you. However, this evidence isn’t always foolproof. Video surveillance footage may be unclear or show only partial images, eyewitness testimony may be unreliable, or there may be other explanations for the alleged theft. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can review the evidence against you and determine whether it’s sufficient to support the charges against you.
- Establish Innocence – Another defense strategy is to establish your innocence. This approach typically involves demonstrating that you did not intend to commit petit theft. For example, if you picked up an item but forgot to pay for it at the checkout counter, you could argue that you had no intention of stealing the item and simply made a mistake. Similarly, if you were with another person who took an item without your knowledge or consent, you may not have committed petit theft. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the circumstances of your case and determine whether establishing your innocence is a viable defense strategy.
- Seek Diversion Programs – Diversion programs are designed to help first-time offenders avoid criminal prosecution by completing specific requirements, such as community service or counseling. If you’re facing petit theft charges, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to have you participate in a diversion program in exchange for dropping the charges against you. The availability of diversion programs varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific facts of your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate whether this approach is appropriate in your case and help you navigate the diversion program process.
- Challenge the Arrest – If you were arrested for petit theft at Wal-Mart, your criminal defense attorney may challenge the arrest itself. For example, if an officer detained you without probable cause your attorney may argue that your arrest was unlawful. If the court agrees, any evidence gathered during the arrest may be thrown out, (including a confession) and the charges against you may be dropped.
- Negotiate a Plea Deal – Finally, if none of the above strategies are successful, your criminal defense attorney may attempt to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. A plea deal typically involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge or agreeing to a reduced sentence in exchange for dropping the more serious charges against you. Plea deals can be beneficial in cases where the evidence against you is strong, and the likelihood of a conviction is high.
FAQs about How to beat a Walmart Theft Charge in Florida
What should I do if I’m accused of shoplifting at Wal-Mart?
If you’re accused of shoplifting at Wal-Mart, it’s crucial to remain calm and not resist detention. Cooperate with store personnel and request to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Can video surveillance be used as strong evidence against me?
Video surveillance can be compelling evidence, but its strength depends on various factors such as clarity, angle, and the presence of other witnesses or evidence.
What are diversion programs, and how can they help?
Diversion programs are alternatives to traditional prosecution that aim to help first-time offenders avoid a criminal record. Completing specific requirements can lead to charges being dropped.
How long does a plea deal negotiation typically take?
A: The timeline for plea deal negotiations can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the cooperation between the defense and prosecution. It could take several weeks or months.
Will my case go to trial if a plea deal is not reached?
A: Not necessarily. If a plea deal is not reached, your case may proceed to trial, but other potential defense strategies can still be explored.
How Leppard Law Can Defend You
In conclusion, if you’re wondering how to beat a Walmart theft charge in Florida, it’s essential to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can review the evidence against you, identify potential defense strategies, and help you navigate the legal system to achieve the best possible outcome.
Our highly experienced Florida criminal defense lawyers are determined to target the weaknesses of the prosecution’s argument and create an effective defense strategy on behalf of our clients. Our track record of success both in and outside courtrooms is proof enough. For more information on the ways that Leppard Law can make an impact for you, contact us at (407) 476-4111 now.