When building a defense, one of the first things a Gwinnett County shoplifting attorney will do is send a letter to the store to ask if they preserved any video of the incident. Usually, there is not even a response from the store but it is still important to send. This might seem like it would be something that is easy to do, but so many times even the prosecuting attorney’s offices have trouble getting the video from the stores.
This is important, because the prosecutor must prove that the person intended to commit the theft and that they made some act in furtherance of that theft. Therefore, if the loss prevention officer says he saw a person walk around the store with a pair of socks, and the person put the socks in their pocket, that can be an act in furtherance. However, if the video shows that all the person did was walk around the store with the socks in his hand and never put them in their pocket, then that might defeat the requisite intent of the shoplifting, specifically the required act in furtherance of it.
One of the first things the defense will want to do is to send a letter to the store to preserve any video and to actually give them a copy. Even if the stores do not send the video, which they often don’t, the letters can be shown to the prosecution to get their assistance or used at trial when cross-examining the loss prevention officers. They may say they captured a video but did not bring it, by bringing up the fact they got a letter from the defense asking for it can be powerful at trial.
Also, the defense wants to get the police reports and any witness statements. An attorney will also talk to the prosecuting attorney to see if there is a possibility to resolve the case through paying restitution or other steps.
If you are choosing an attorney the most important factor to consider is whether or not that attorney is experienced in handling that type of case. You want a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with the specific crime you are facing. For example, you want a bankruptcy lawyer if you have to handle a bankruptcy, and you want a shoplifting lawyer if you’ve been charged with shoplifting.
The second most important factor is that it be a local attorney. A local, Gwinnett County attorney should know what defenses might work with a certain judge, what certain judges will want to hear in mitigation, and what they will not want to hear. This is important because it allows the defense to create a stronger defense specifically geared toward the prosecutors and judges.