Cobb County Shoplifting Lawyer
Impulse shoplifting cases dominate court dockets in Cobb County. People take merchandise off shelves and stuff it in their coats or bag merchandise at self-service checkouts without paying for it. Other shoplifting cases involve deep conspiracies that often include store employees. Under-ringing and fraudulent refund scams are two examples. These different types of shoplifting cases have different defenses, as outlined below.
Regardless of the type of case, a dedicated Cobb County shoplifting lawyer like Andrew Schwartz generally uses the same approach. First, our team thoroughly evaluates your case and develops a plan of action. Next, we collect evidence, identify holes in the state’s evidence, and find legal precedent that supports your defenses. Finally, when the case goes to court, we do not stop fighting until we obtain the best possible results under the circumstances.
Legally, shoplifting is taking another person’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of the full use and enjoyment of that property. Therefore, when the case goes to court, the “owner” must testify about such deprivation.
We placed “owner” in quotation marks because Georgia law broadly defines this O-word. Usually, an owner is anyone with a superior right to possession. Charging instruments normally designate the store security guard or other person who called it in as the owner. In most cases, that’s the only owner-like person law enforcement officers worked with.
This strategy, while legally permissible, often creates major problems during the pretrial and trial phases.
Positions like LPO (loss prevention officer) have very high turnover rates. Since the trial date may be more than a year from the offense date, there is a good chance the “owner” is no longer with the store. If the LPO or other person left a forwarding address, which is a big “if,” that new address might be outside the court’s subpoena range, which is usually 150 miles.
This problem is easy for the state to fix. Prosecutors must simply amend the charging instruments and change the owner’s name. But busy prosecutors often do not notice the discrepancy until it’s too late.
Incidentally, this same issue comes up in other criminal cases as well. Police officer turnover is at an all-time high. Extended delay creates witness availability problems in DUIs and other cases. If there’s no witness, there’s typically no case.
We mentioned common shoplifting schemes above. In an under-ringing scam, the clerk doesn’t scan a valuable item. Then, the clerk and shopper split their ill-gotten gains. Fraudulent returns usually involve merchandise returns at different store locations.
As investigators unpeel the layers of these onions, they often commit procedural violations. For example, in their zeal to convince Rachel to roll over on her co-conspirators, officers might not properly Mirandize her.
Additionally, shoplifting investigations are criminal-civil hybrids. LPOs and other private security officers do not have to follow the Fourth Amendment and other Constitutional provisions. So, they are used to violating them. They do things like search lockers without probable cause. These violations could come back to haunt a prosecutor in criminal court, where these rights apply.
Connect With a Thorough Cobb County Lawyer
Criminal cases have procedural and substantive defenses. For a free consultation with an experienced shoplifting lawyer in Cobb County, contact Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. Convenient payment plans are available.