On the surface, shoplifting is not the most serious crime. However, depending on the situation, it can result in criminal charges that impact your life in a variety of ways.
There are times when shoplifting leads to nothing more than a citation. In more severe cases, such as a more expensive item being stolen, it can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges.
Here are five things you should do if you’re accused of shoplifting:
- Keep your cool and remain silent: Screaming at store employees and/or talking about what happened will only make things worse. Remain calm, think twice about what you’re saying and cooperate with police.
- Understand your legal rights: For example, if a storeowner or security officer has reason to believe you were shoplifting, they have the ability to detain you until police arrive. However, they are only permitted to use reasonable force to do so. Any sort of physical force that results in injury is against the law.
- There are many things that fall under the category of shoplifting: Most commonly, shoplifting is when you conceal an item and attempt to leave the store without paying. But, this can take on other forms, such as distracting store employees while a friend shoplifts. Another example is changing the price on an item to save money.
- Mistakes can happen: Maybe you had every intention of paying for an item, but wandered out of the store by accident. Or maybe a cashier thought you were trying to shoplift, when, in actuality, this was never on your mind. Sometimes, a simple explanation and apology is more than enough to clear up your situation.
- Keep detailed records: As time allows, take notes regarding your arrest and what followed. This will give you more information to rely on as you prepare for your court date.
Any person of any age can be charged with shoplifting, but this is one of the most common crimes among juveniles.
If your child is facing shoplifting charges, do your part by learning more about the accusation and deciding which steps to take next.
With the right shoplifting defense strategy, you can help your child escape a serious penalty that could impact them for the rest of their life.
For more information on shoplifting and other juvenile crimes, browse our website and past blog posts.