A stealing conviction on your criminal history can make it difficult to find work. If you have been accused of shoplifting or theft, Byrnes Law Firm can help you develop a solid plan plan to defend you against the charges.
While some may view shoplifting as a petty offense, if you are caught shoplifting in Missouri, the penalties can be severe. All depending on the circumstances and history of past offenses, a shoplifting or “theft” charge can either be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. Unlike other states, Missouri laws view shoplifting and theft as one and the same, which can cause you serious issues down the road when a potential employer pulls up a criminal background check.
In Missouri, theft isn’t as straightforward as simply pocketing goods on an impulse; theft can include leaving a restaurant without leaving the correct amount of cash, or other thefts of service or goods, such as not paying hotel room charges.
While the law may be changing within the coming years, any person accused of stealing products or services totaling $500 or more can be charged with a Class C felony offense. If the amount is over $25,000, the charges can be raised to a Class B felony offense. But, if you have a criminal history (especially a history of theft or shoplifting), the prosecution may seek a felony charge, no matter the amount of goods or services stolen. But, a 2016 Missouri Supreme Court case (State v. Bazell) does have some jurisdictions questioning whether stealing offenses can still be charged as felonies.
When reviewing the legal code in State v. Bazell, the justices found a “legislative blunder” written into the law in 2002 that made felon stealing too ambiguous to be prosecuted. Arguably, this makes many types of stealing offenses simple misdemeanors instead of felonies. Because of this legal error, many criminal defense attorneys are helping clients to have their sentences reduced to misdemeanors. But, this legal loophole is sure to be closed in the near future.
Owing to the harsh nature of Missouri’s shoplifting laws, it is essential that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney review the details of your case to ensure your rights are preserved during the legal process. Bill Byrnes of Byrnes Law Firm has decades of experience in defending Missourians charged with stealing offenses. Byrnes Law Firm is prepared to help you defend your case and give you the information you need to appropriately defend yourself in court.
To schedule a consultation with Byrnes Law Firm to discuss your stealing or shoplifting charges, call Byrnes Law Firm today.
Byrnes Law Firm understands that many people struggle with the financial burdens their case may have, and likely feel reluctant to even speak with a lawyer about their case, often choosing to go at it alone. This is a mistake, and more often than not, will lead to an unfavorable outcome in your case. When your rights are at risk, you need a strong and experienced lawyer at your side to get you through with the best possible outcome, and the Byrnes Law Firm wants you to know that you can call and consult with them about your case absolutely free. Tell your story, and know your options. You’re in good hands.