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Levitt & Levitt | Because Experience Counts
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Defending yourself against a Tennessee shoplifting charge

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2018 | Theft & Property Crimes

Being accused of shoplifting can be a very upsetting and stressful situation to be in, and it can also be a difficult situation to navigate. If you believe that you were not guilty of the crime of shoplifting, it is important to know how to defend yourself.

In learning what your possible defenses are, it is important to know about how the law works when it comes to the definition of the crime of shoplifting. By doing this, it will become easier to see how you can make a convincing argument that will convince the courts of your innocence.

What is the definition of shoplifting under the law?

Generally speaking, the definition of shoplifting contains two main elements. The first is the element of intention. There must be proof that the item allegedly stolen was taken intentionally, in other words, that it was intentionally concealed and intentionally taken out of the store. The second element is regarding the alleged shoplifter and their intention to permanently deprive the store in question of the property. For example, if the alleged shoplifter was only merely intending to borrow an item for some legitimate reason, it cannot be classed as shoplifting under the law.

What types of defenses can be legitimately used against a shoplifting charge?

Based on the definition of shoplifting charges across the United States, a possible defense of a shoplifting charge could be the argument that the item was taken by mistake. For example, a defendant may be able to argue that they took the item out of the store accidentally because they forgot that they were holding it while they were shopping. This is a common and honest mistake to make. This defense can further be strengthened by being able to show that the defendant immediately tries to return the property once they became aware of their mistake.

If witnesses were present, a defense could be trying to challenge the reliability and honesty of the witnesses. For example, if the shop workers are the only witnesses, they may be deemed to be biased.  Often a defense lawyer wil obtain video to see what it shows.

If you have been accused of shoplifting in the state of Tennessee, it is important that you take immediate action in order to defend yourself.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association

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