When you have been charged with a crime like shoplifting, you might be overwhelmed and confused about what’s going on and what’s going to happen to you.
Whether you knowingly took an item from a store or not, if you’re facing criminal charges in Fort Lauderdale, you deserve a defense attorney who will go the full distance in protecting your rights against any possible abridgements by law enforcement officers, loss prevention officers, or security guards.
After an arrest, or once it becomes evident that you are being arrested (even if you are not being taken in to the precinct, you might be given papers and served with an official notice that you need to make a court date), you need to do several things:
- don’t panic;
- Invoke your 5th Amendment right to remain silent;
- be cooperative and respond to all instructions given to you (without answering any questions that go beyond identifying yourself); and
- contact a defense attorney and notify him or her of your shoplifting charges.
These directives might seem straightforward, but failure to follow each of them could result in more headaches later on down the line. Shoplifting charges might not be as serious as, for instance, grand theft auto, but they can still leave an embarrassing stain on your record that can be accessed by family members, potential employers, and anyone with a general interest in finding dirt on you.
Criteria for Selecting Your Defense Attorney
Unless you’re a habitual offender, you probably don’t have an attorney with whom you regularly work with, and because it’s so vital that you involve an attorney in your case sooner rather than later, you’ll have to go through the selection process efficiently and effectively.
When choosing the criminal defense lawyer who will represent you in your charges, take into consideration that you’ll be best served by an attorney who receives most of his or her business from criminal defense cases, rather than personal injury cases, for instance.
An attorney who focuses on a niche or practice area has likely handled cases that are similar to yours and will have a thorough understanding of the nuances of your case type.
Also take the amount of experience your attorney has into consideration. While it’s not a hard and fast rule that the attorney with the most experience will always win, but if you had to go on experience alone, you’d probably trust the seasoned veteran over the rookie.
This just comes down to familiarity with the case type, again; the more cases an attorney has handled of a particular type, the more comfortable he or she is in that arena, and comfortable attorneys often engender confident, comfortable clients.
Other valuable characteristics in an attorney include those who are willing to work out a payment plan with you, should you need such services, and those who have solid credentials that you can fact-check through your family members, friends, and through the use of the Internet.
Before you hire an attorney, always make sure that you go to the American Bar Association website to check for any disciplinary actions that have been assessed against the attorney by the bar. These are often for ethics violations and should be a red flag when you’re searching for a lawyer to represent you.
Who you choose to represent you can have a profound impact on whether or not you receive a favorable outcome from your shoplifting case, so don’t make your decision lightly.
Meet with attorneys you’re considering in consultations (most offer them for free) and come prepared with a list of questions. After you’ve met with a few, compare your answers and select an attorney who will best suit the needs of your case.
Facing Shoplifting Charges in Fort Lauderdale? Contact a Defense Attorney
If you are facing the burden of shoplifting fines and penalties in Fort Lauderdale, your legal team is your best defense. The defense team you choose to represent you in court, defend your rights, and relentlessly pursue your case could be the difference between jail time and getting on with your life. Contact the Fort Lauderdale criminal defense team at Falk & Ross to discuss your case – 877-663-5110.