Every criminal case turns on evidence. Without it, the state cannot secure a conviction for even the lowest-level crimes, and defendants can walk free. Sometimes evidence is contradictory, and it is up to the judge or jury to decide who is telling the truth or what evidence is most believable. At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., our team will aggressively review all evidence found by the state and go even further, looking for exculpatory evidence to clear your name of a retail theft charge.
Many people convict themselves out of their own mouths soon after being stopped on suspicion of theft. Some people immediately admit they took goods, while others will come up with a story that is simply not believable. Ideally, anyone stopped on suspicion of retail theft will immediately stay quiet. There is no reason to talk to store personnel or the police, and you have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Instead, ask for a lawyer.
Store personnel or the police usually find an item on you that you have not paid for. Of course, there might be an innocent explanation for how the item got in your purse or in your pocket. The state needs to show your intent to take the goods, and the fact that you have possession is not 100% proof that you grabbed the goods.
For example, you might have purchased a toolbox with an item hidden inside. But did you hide the item in the box? Did someone else? There are ways to explain away evidence like this. Likewise, you could have put an item underneath a cart but forgotten to ring it up at checkout. This oversight could have been purely accidental and not criminal.
Many stores have closed-circuit surveillance systems that continuously record parts of the store. If you were captured on the video sliding something into your purse or removing a price tag, then this evidence will probably come in. However, surveillance video is often unclear. It doesn’t always capture the entire store, and another customer could block the video. Instead of assuming there is a video showing you stealing, keep quiet. Your criminal defense attorney will need to look at the video first to identify just what it shows.
In some situations, a witness could observe that you did not steal an item. For example, someone might have seen your child slide an item in your purse, or they might have overheard a clerk tell you that it was okay to take a heavy item out to your car before coming back inside to pay. Ideally, you will share with your attorney the identities of any witnesses around you during the incident.
Our attorneys are waiting to assist you. Please call 630-953-3000 to reach a Naperville retail theft attorney for more information. At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., our consultations are confidential and free.