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Can You Get a Retail Theft Charge Dropped?

 Posted on January 30, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Northbrook criminal defense lawyerGetting caught shoplifting can result in serious penalties like fines, probation, and even jail time. The stakes for your future are high. Sometimes, an Illinois criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution to reduce or even drop your charges.

When Evidence is Weak or Nonexistent

Getting a case thrown out is most realistic when the evidence against you is flawless. Suppose sloppy police work results in gaps in the evidence trail or unclear records of your arrest and inventory of items. In that case, an attorney can often successfully argue to get charges dismissed. If video footage of the incident is missing or fails to identify you shoplifting merchandise clearly, the prosecution will have difficulty proving their case, making dismissal a real possibility.

When Your Rights Have Been Violated

Another common way lawyers get charges dropped is by demonstrating that police violated your rights upon arrest or seizure of evidence. That information can typically be suppressed if you were detained and questioned improperly or arrested without probable cause. If evidence like CCTV footage or witness statements were obtained illegally by police, your lawyer can fight to bar them from your case. Getting key evidence thrown out often leaves the prosecution without enough proof to continue, allowing your attorney to pursue dismissal.

Pleading Down Charges

Even if the evidence against you is solid, an attorney can often negotiate with the prosecution to reduce your charges or plead down to a lesser offense. You may get your charges reduced or dropped with a first-time retail theft offender if you enter diversion programs, which allow you to avoid conviction if you complete certain conditions like community service and counseling. Your lawyer can look for ways to rehabilitate you in the eyes of the court, such as having you enroll in counseling for kleptomania if relevant. This can motivate the prosecution to drop the charges in exchange for a guilty plea on a lesser misdemeanor.

When to Accept a Plea Bargain

Of course, getting charges dropped completely is only sometimes realistic. An experienced lawyer will honestly assess your chances so you can decide whether to fight for dismissal in trial or accept a plea bargain. While it may not seem ideal to plead guilty to end your case quickly, a plea deal can often result in favorable terms compared to losing at trial. An attorney may secure no jail time, reduced charges, or deferred adjudication. Knowing the potential worst and best-case scenarios will allow you to make an informed choice.

Contact a Northbrook, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

Dealing with a retail theft charge can be stressful, but the stakes are your criminal record and future. It can be beneficial to see the outcome with a Skokie, IL criminal defense attorney on your side. Call The Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C. at 847-239-4703 for a free consultation.

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