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4 potential defenses to shoplifting charges in Virginia

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Shoplifting is a crime in Virginia that involves stealing merchandise from a retail establishment. If you are facing shoplifting charges in Virginia, it is essential to understand the potential defenses that may be available to you.

Here are some potential defenses to use to fight shoplifting charges in Virginia. Knowing what these are will help you protect your rights. 

1. Lack of intent

One of the most common defenses to shoplifting charges is the lack of intent to steal. In Virginia, the prosecution must prove you intended to steal the merchandise. If you accidentally forgot to pay for an item or believed that you had already paid for it, you did not have the intent to steal. This defense can be difficult to prove, but it may be possible to show that you lacked the necessary intent.

2. Mistaken identity

If you are wrongly accused of shoplifting, you can argue that you were not the person who committed the crime. For example, if the security footage is unclear or the store’s security personnel did not identify you correctly, you may be able to use this defense.

3. Coerced confession

If you were coerced into confessing to shoplifting, your confession might not be admissible in court. You can argue that you were intimidated or threatened into confessing to a crime you did not commit by the store’s security, for example, if they exerted undue pressure or purposefully frightened you.

4. Duress

If someone forced you to commit shoplifting under threat of harm, you could argue that you acted under duress. This defense only applies if you were threatened by harm and had no other options.

If you are facing shoplifting charges in Virginia, it is important to remember that you have legal rights and potential defenses. Knowing your rights will help you protect them.