What Evidence do the Police Need to Arrest You For Shoplifting?

In Virginia, if you’re accused of committing a misdemeanor the police need to prove a couple of different things in order to try to arrest you for that. They have to prove that a misdemeanor was committed in their presence and then they can arrest you on the spot without a warning.

In many cases, like for Virginia shoplifting, the police will be called to a store by the store’s loss prevention officer. They will talk with loss prevention and see what evidence there is against you for the case, and if the loss prevention officer can testify that they saw you shoplift, then the officer will write out a summons for shoplifting. Then you will be released on the summons and free to go.

The alternate choice for the officer instead of writing a summons is unfortunately to take you to the magistrate and seek a warrant for your arrest. However, getting a warrant for your arrest could make things more complicated for you and could make it where you could actually have to go to jail that day. This is one reason why a lot of officers for a shoplifting call will simply write out a summons. The summons basically commands you to appear in court on a specific day and time. It saves them trouble and it saves you trouble as well, at least for that day.

But what do they actually have to prove for shoplifting? Basically, in Virginia, the Commonwealth normally will attempt to prove concealment. There is a statute in Virginia, 18.2-104, which says that you are guilty of shoplifting, or petty larceny, depending on the value of the item, if you conceal an item while in the store or if you alter the price tag in any way. The main thing that happens is someone will be seen putting an item in their pocket, purse, or backpack, or hiding it under something in the cart. That is a textbook case of concealment where you’re trying to sneak an item out of the store concealed.

If you’re charged with shoplifting in Virginia call me today for a free case strategy session so we can look at the facts of your case and whether or not the Commonwealth has the evidence to prove the case.

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Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.
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