I’ve been charged with theft. What do I do now?

In Kansas, a theft occurs when someone takes something from another person with the intent to permanently deprive the owner.  Retail theft, or shoplifting, is the most common category of theft.  But, theft also includes a loss of services and obtaining control over property that was stolen by someone else.  A theft can happen when someone “voluntarily” gives up property if it was the result of a threat or even a deception. 

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE THE STORE WITH THE ITEM 

You can be charged and convicted of with theft even if you do not leave the store with the item.  If a loss prevention associate believes you are stealing an item, he or she can stop you – and they can prevent you from leaving until police officers arrive.  You can be held even if you can pay for the item.

 A THEFT CONVICTION IS SERIOUS

If you were accused of shoplifting, or theft, you are facing penalties including fines, fees, restitution, and jail time.  Depending on a number of factors, including the value of the item and criminal history, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  Your case may be in a municipal court or in the district court. 

A RETAIL THEFT CONVICTION MAY RESULT IN ADDITIONAL PENALTIES

In many cases, a retail theft conviction may cause the offender to be banned from the particular store and may even result in a ban from all retail stores in that particular city.  If the item was not recovered, the judge will likely require reimbursement.  And, even if the item was recovered, Kansas law permits the victim to impose a civil judgment to recover the costs of the prosecution.

DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST THEFT CHARGES

As with all charges, in order to gain a conviction, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  The evidence usually comes in the form of witness testimony, police officer reports, loss prevention reports, videos, proof of the value of the item taken.  You should quickly hire a criminal defense attorney to start building your defense.

Tags: Theft

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