Were you accused of stealing merchandise from a store in Lexington, KY? Assert your right to remain silent and enlist the help of the experienced Lexington shoplifting lawyers at Oakley & Oakley, LLC.
We’ll defend you every step of the way and fight to help you secure the best possible outcome in your criminal theft case. A strong and smart defense can be the difference between time behind bars and walking away with your freedom intact.
Contact our law office to arrange a free consultation to learn more today.
How Our Lexington Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You Fight Shoplifting Charges
Shoplifting might seem like a minor offense, but these types of cases are taken very seriously in the state of Kentucky. If you’ve been arrested or charged, it is important to fight back. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that alone. The experienced Lexington criminal attorney at Oakley & Oakley, LLC, are here to help.
When you hire our law firm, you’ll benefit from a team with more than 15 years of experience handling the most complex criminal matters in and around Fayette County.
We’ll fight for you by:
- Preventing the state from violating your constitutional rights
- Working tirelessly to try to secure your release from police custody
- Providing you with sound legal advice and guidance as necessary
- Launching a thorough investigation into the state’s charges
- Providing you with an overview of your potential defense strategies
- Working out a plea bargain deal with the prosecutor
- Helping you understand the Kentucky criminal justice system
- Searching for evidence that might sway your case in your favor
- Presenting evidence and arguing on your behalf at trial, if required
The experienced Lexington criminal defense attorneys at Oakley & Oakley, LLC, are ready to help you fight back against your shoplifting charges. Please do not hesitate to give us a call to set up a free consultation at our law offices in Lexington, Kentucky. Having handled many cases like yours in the past, we know what it takes to win.
Understanding Kentucky’s Shoplifting Laws
The state of Kentucky does not have a rule or regulation on its books that specifically targets shoplifters. As such, when law enforcement officers in Lexington catch people stealing merchandise from retailers, they typically charge them with theft by unlawful taking or disposition (KRS § 514.030).
This Kentucky law explains that it is unlawful for an individual to:
- Take or exercise control over another person’s movable property with the intent of depriving them of its use, or
- Obtain another person’s immovable property with the intention of benefiting themselves or another party
Courts usually classify this crime as a Class A misdemeanor. However, the prosecution can upgrade it to a Class D felony if:
- The property is worth more than $500 but less than $10,000, or
- The property is a firearm
When the value of the stolen goods is more than $10,000 but less than $1 million, this criminal offense is a Class C felony.
Do Kentucky Stores Have the Right to Apprehend Suspected Shoplifters?
According to section 433.236 of the Kentucky Revised Code, shops in the City of Lexington can arrest and detain anyone they suspect of taking any merchandise in an unlawful way. However, they only have the authority to do so for a reasonable length of time.
In most cases, these detentions have to happen within the grounds of the store. However, retailers may take their suspects off-site to:
- Recover items that were stolen by the suspected shoplifter
- Verify the identity of the shoplifter
- Find a law enforcement officer and surrender the suspect
Our theft crime lawyers are well-versed in every aspect of Kentucky criminal law. So, if you were detained or arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in the City of Lexington, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We may be able to use our legal skills and experience to help you escape conviction.
Consequences of Shoplifting Convictions in the State of Kentucky
The state of Kentucky doles out some severe criminal penalties to people who steal goods from retailers within its borders. Convictions for offenses of this nature almost always result in hefty fines and prison or jail time. The specific nature of each convict’s punishment depends on the severity of their shoplifting crime:
- Class A Misdemeanors: Between 90 days and 12 months in county jail as well as a fine of up to $500.
- Class D Felonies: Between one and five years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
- Class C Felonies: Between five and ten years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Of course, when the state of Kentucky convicts an individual of a criminal charge of this nature, they don’t just send them to jail and make them pay a fine. They also hand them a permanent criminal record.
People with criminal records in the Bluegrass State can experience a wide range of collateral consequences to their actions, such as:
- Trouble Landing a Job: Businesses in the state of Kentucky tend to shy away from hiring people with criminal records.
- Professional Licensing Problems: Professional licensing boards in Kentucky often turn down applications from convicted criminals.
- Struggles Finding Housing: Landlords in the Lexington area prefer to avoid renting homes to felons and other convicted criminals.
- Trouble Obtaining Student Loans: The federal government is not in the habit of issuing student loans to convicted felons.
- Loss of Gun Ownership Rights: Kentuckians lose the right to carry, own, buy, or use firearms when a court convicts them of a felony.
- Immigration Issues: Deportation can occur for non-citizen felons after they serve out their prison sentences.
- Loss of Privacy: The friends and colleagues of convicted criminals can quickly find out more about their past by performing a cursory online search.
- Harsher Future Punishments: Convicted criminals in the state of Kentucky tend to get penalized much more severely when they get into trouble with the law again in the future.
In most instances, the only way a convict can stop enduring the collateral consequences outlined above is to get their criminal record expunged.
Pretrial Diversion: An Alternative to Criminal Conviction
First-time, low-level criminals do not always have to go through the penal system in Kentucky. The state offers a pretrial diversion program to these individuals.
The purpose of this program is to rehabilitate the offender without having to send them to jail.
Those who choose to enroll in a pretrial diversion program must generally:
- Make restitution to their victim or victims
- Complete a period of community service, and
- Attend a state-approved rehabilitation class
When offenders complete the program, the state drops all charges levied against them. They do not go to jail or receive a criminal record.
At Oakley & Oakley, LLC, we have been helping Lexington residents enroll in pretrial diversion programs and escape the negative consequences of a shoplifting conviction for years. If you would like to have us represent you in your legal battle, please give us a call today.
Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges in Kentucky
Getting arrested for shoplifting in Lexington, Kentucky, can be a scary and somewhat embarrassing experience. However, it is far from inevitable that a charge of this nature will become a conviction. There are a number of defense strategies that can be asserted in criminal shoplifting cases:
Lack of Evidence
To convict someone of shoplifting in Kentucky, the state has to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To achieve this goal, prosecutors usually present the court with evidence like:
- Witness testimony
- Surveillance footage
- GPS data
When defense attorneys argue that the prosecutor does not have enough evidentiary materials to meet their burden of proof, they are often able to convince the jury to acquit their clients.
It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for violent individuals to force innocent people to steal objects on their behalf. When defense attorneys can prove that their client only broke the law because they were subject to violence or the threat of violence, they can usually get the case thrown out.
Lack of Intent
To be guilty of shoplifting in the state of Kentucky, an individual must take an item with the intention of benefiting themselves or depriving its owner of its use. It is not illegal for Lexington residents to take another person’s property by mistake.
When lawyers prove that their client did not intend to steal the property in question, they can frequently get their charges dismissed.
Ownership of Property
Police officers in the state of Kentucky make mistakes on a regular basis. When defense lawyers can prove that law enforcement officers arrested their client for shoplifting an item that they had legally purchased before walking into the store, they usually have little trouble getting their charge dropped.
Would you like to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer from our law firm review your case and help you figure out which legal strategy is the best one for you? Then please give us a call today to set up a free consultation at our law office in Lexington. We are ready to stand up and fight for you.
Your Knowledgeable Lexington Shoplifting Lawyer
The legal team at Oakley & Oakley, LLC, has been helping the residents of Kentucky fight back against their criminal charges for years – achieving an abundance of favorable results in the process. So, if you need a seasoned Lexington shoplifting attorney to defend you, please reach out to us at your earliest convenience. You can reach us by phone or by sending us a brief message online.