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Shoplifting Charge in Missouri…

Shoplifting Charge in Missouri…

Shoplifting Charge in Missouri

In Missouri, shoplifting is where you get caught taking items worth less than $500 and punishment can be up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.  Sometimes the charge is deemed to be stealing, theft or “petty theft”.

Since shoplifting is a crime involving dishonesty, it is crucial that anyone charged with shoplifting in Missouri hire a lawyer.  A person who pleads guilty to shoplifting will have that on his record and this could dim his future employment prospects.  Employers are especially wary of hiring anyone who has been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty.

Hiring an attorney will ensure that your case is adequately reviewed to see if it can be dismissed, and, if not, reduced to a lesser charge.

In most shoplifting cases in Missouri, the defendant is charged in municipal court.  Outcomes after hiring an attorney usually include paying a fine and court costs, possibly completing a class regarding theft, often community service and in some cases, completion of one or two years of probation.

Fines and court costs can range from $150 to $700.  The theft offender class can be completed in a day and costs between $50 and $75.

The outcome of your case will depend on a number of factors, including where you were arrested, what items you allegedly took, your interaction with the police officer(s) at the scene, any prior convictions and what I would call “special circumstances”, i.e. any particular facts which make your case different than another case or that would cause a prosecutor to see your case in a different light.

As always, hiring an attorney for your Missouri shoplifting case is not only essential to getting a better resolution of the charge, but it will also remove a lot of the stress of having to go to court not knowing what to expect.  In some cases, you may not have to attend court at all.

 

Been charged with shoplifting or stealing in Missouri?  Traffic Ticket Center can help.  Call us right away at (636) 486-2669.

 

 

How Serious is Shoplifting or Stealing in Missouri?

How Serious is Shoplifting or Stealing in Missouri?

How Serious is Shoplifting or Stealing in Missouri?

Under Missouri law, stealing is a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the merchandise is under $500.  Class A misdemeanors in Missouri carry a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one (1) year in jail.

Now, under Missouri law you can also be sued in a civil suit by the store that you allegedly shoplifted from.  This usually begins with what’s called a “civil demand letter”.  It will say you owe the store money for shoplifting goods.

Hiring an attorney is very important if you are charged with shoplifting or stealing.  First, the attorney can often get the charge amended to a lesser offense, especially if you have no prior convictions on your record.  Frankly, each court treats these charges completely different.  In some courts, your best result, other than a dismissal would be probation.  Specifically, an attorney can seek a SIS (Suspended Imposition of Sentence) plea and probation.

As I have discussed before, if you receive an SIS no conviction is entered on your record if you complete the probation period with no further convictions.

Aside from where you received the charge, there are many other factors that are considered by the prosecutor.  For example, are you young?  Were you cooperative with security at the store?  How much was the item you stole and what was it?  Have you ever been convicted of shoplifting, theft or some other crime of dishonesty such as larceny or fraud?

Keep in mind that when officers write a ticket for shoplifting, they often will call it stealing under $500, just stealing or often theft (or even theft under $500).   All of those descriptions would fall under the charge of shoplifting.

Again, it’s not a charge to be taken lightly.   When employers do background checks, they are often forgiving of many mistakes people make like a DWI or other serious traffic offenses.  But shoplifting charges, in their view, relate to your character and trustworthiness.  If you’re a bank for example, how can you justify hiring someone who has plead guilty to a shoplifting charge?

That’s why it makes the most sense to hire a lawyer to represent your interests and protect your future.  I’ve prosecuted these cases and defended them and that experience helps my clients.

Traffic ticket courts in St. Charles County…

Traffic ticket courts in St. Charles County…

When we get a call from someone who received a traffic ticket in St. Charles County, one of the first questions we ask is when and where their court date is.

That’s because it makes a difference in what we charge clients and the procedures to  handle the ticket for the clients.

St. Charles County has three layers of courts.  First, each town has a municipal court.  If you get a ticket in O’Fallon, written by a police officer from the O’Fallon Police Department your court date will be at O’Fallon Municipal Court.   Makes sense, right?

What most people don’t know is that St. Charles County has their own court for traffic tickets and that is called the St. Charles County Municipal Court.  If you get pulled over for a traffic ticket by a St. Charles County Sheriff’s Deputy, your court date will be at St. Charles County Municipal Court.  That court is located, by the way, just north of Highway 70 off Highway 79.  Certain unincorporated areas of St. Charles County is where the sheriff’s department has jurisdiction.  A good example would be the Defiance, Missouri area off Highway DD.

The other court in St. Charles County is the St. Charles County Circuit Court, located on Second Street in downtown St. Charles (one block west of Main Street).  This court generally handles violations of state law, but for traffic tickets the cases that are heard here are tickets issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.  A common example would be a speeding ticket received while driving in St. Charles County on Highway 70 or Highway 64.   Incidentally, this court also handles more serious charges like felonies and serious misdemeanor cases.

From the standpoint of speeding tickets, however, the cases are treated pretty much the same in terms of how of our office would resolve them.  For relatively minor offenses like speeding, we can usually get very good results and the same outcome for our clients whether we are in St. Charles City Municipal Court, St. Charles County Municipal Court or St. Charles County Circuit Court.

Things get trickier for St. Charles County Circuit court for more serious charges like DWIs, Stealing and Drug Possession.  We can still help clients but the fees are higher because the cases take longer to resolve and involve much more investigation.