I was just caught for shoplifting at sears(yes very stupid),the item cost 19.99. I was told by the Loss prevention staff on duty that because the item was under $20 they would not prosecute because they only prosecute for items that are $20. However during that time the supervisor called and told them to call the police. On the way out one of them mentioned to me that the policy states they only prosecute for $20 or more. Can anyone verify this for me or let me know where I might find a copy of this policy?
Criminal Defense Attorney
Are you talking about the Sears store policy? That's probably not necessarily a document that's published and available to the public. It may be just something they do (or they decide on a case-by-case basis). Private parties can do whatever they like. If they go against their own "policy," you can't do much about it.
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Violent Crime Lawyer
When you get to court, your lawyer can subpoena any documents related to the case, such as the store's loss prevention manuals and procedures. Unfortunately, this "policy" isn't legally binding on the court or the prosecutor and probably doesn't give rise to a defense.
If you cannot afford to hire an experienced local attorney, request a public defender when you get to court.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The store policy makes no difference to your case. The law in Virginia, regardless of any store policy, is the same whether you steal 20 cents worth of merchandise, or $199.20 worth of merchandise. You have committed petit larceny.
You should contact a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Do not speak to anyone else about your charges except a criminal defense lawyer.
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