Have you been accused of shoplifting? In some cases, especially when the crime is considered petty theft, you may just get a fine. In other cases, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony of grand theft or larceny, depending on the type and amount of items allegedly stolen. There are many factors that go into a shoplifting case, so here is what you need to know if you're ever faced with the accusation of shoplifting:
Stay Calm and Silent.
If you've been pulled to the side by the store owner or the cops have arrested you, you need to remain calm and avoid saying a word. Anger, including verbal vitriol, will only make things worse. You can take anything you say back, so take a deep break and think before you make any statements or act. The only thing you should say is, "I want an attorney."
You May Be Legally Detained Until Police Arrive.
Under the shopkeeper's privilege, security officers and store owners have the right to detain you until the cops arrive if they suspect that you were shoplifting. However, they do need probable cause in order to do so, and they can only use reasonable force and means to detain you. Deadly force, or any force that causes significant bodily injury, is not allowed and can open them up to a lawsuit later.
Everyone in the Store Can Make a Mistake.
Everyone can make mistakes, including yourself and even the person behind the register. The store owner may have thought he honestly (yet mistakenly) saw you shoplift something from his store. On the other sssyds,======usfkou just really and truly forgot to pay until it was too late. By offering a heartfelt apology and explanation, you may be able to get the store owner to drop any charges that he was thinking about pursuing. In other words, you may be able to avoid prosecution this way. If not, then…
You Need to Contact an Attorney.
If you are at risk of going to jail or any other type of penalty for allegedly shoplifting, then you need to call an attorney immediately. A lawyer can help review the evidence and obtain the best possible outcome for your individual case. If convicted, and it is your first time, you may be able to get out on less harsh penalties by submitting to community services. For repeat offenders, or more serious cases, it may still be possible to obtain a plea deal. An attorney can help determine the best possible way to eliminate the charges completely or get them down to the bare minimum.
If you've been accused of a crime, contact a criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more time the prosecution has to build their case against you.
For professional legal services, contact a lawyer such as Robert A Murray.