Some of the most frequent criminal cases that come into Ringgold courts are those that allege theft. While some people may believe that charges of theft are only minor inconveniences when they are small offenses like petty shoplifting, but a conviction for even the simplest forms of theft will create a criminal record, require a defendant to pay a fine, and may even lead to jail.
As a result, it is critical that people facing allegations of theft in Ringgold defend their rights with the help of a determined criminal defense attorney. This includes forming a defense that has the potential to defeat a prosecutor’s case in court. A Ringgold theft lawyer may be able to help when an individual faces accusation of theft. They can work to explain a person’s rights and to represent their interests in and out of court.
All forms of theft in Ringgold share one thing in common. They all allege that a defendant deprived the rightful owner of property the use or possession of that property. The means by which a defendant accomplishes this goal determines which statute a prosecutor will use to bring charges. One type of theft is when a defendant physically takes property away from the possession of another. It is also possible for theft to occur concerning the theft of services such as failing to pay for a meal at a restaurant or provide payment for a stay at a hotel.
Perhaps the most common example of theft allegations is those that involve shoplifting. This offense involves taking a product from a store or attempting to do so. Attempts can include concealing a product on one’s body or in their cart. It can also involve changing price tags or attempting to use a false coupon. A Ringgold theft attorney could help no matter what version of theft the State believes to have occurred.
Just as there are various forms of theft, there are also multiple levels of penalties that a person may face upon conviction. Most forms of theft are misdemeanors in most cases where the maximum penalty can be a fine of up to $1,000 or one year in jail.
However, many factors may lead to enhanced sentences. If a defendant has two prior convictions for theft, the charge converts to a felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one year. The value of the items in the incident can also lead to enhanced penalties. When the value climbs to $1,500.01, a judge may impose a jail sentence of up to five years.
In addition, the theft of certain kinds of items carries enhanced penalties. Prominent examples include the theft of trade secrets, livestock, and cargo. A Ringgold theft attorney could provide more information about the nature of the charges and the potential penalties for conviction.
Every person who faces allegations of theft needs to take the charge seriously. Any conviction for theft can result in the imposition of a jail sentence. This applies regardless of the means that a person uses to commit the theft and the value of the property.
A Ringgold theft lawyer could help to develop a defense strategy designed to prevent this outcome. They can work to evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case and to determine where it may be weak. If a person’s goal is to come to a plea deal in hopes of avoiding jail time, an attorney can help to negotiate with a prosecutor. If a person wishes to fight the charges at trial, an attorney can work to create reasonable doubts in the minds of jurors. Contact a Ringgold theft lawyer today to discuss your options.