R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Accused of shoplifting? Things you need to know

Although shoplifting is not considered the most serious crime, you need to realize one thing to be true: This can still have a negative impact on your life.

It's important that you take the right steps if you are accused of shoplifting. Depending on the situation you're facing, this could range from a minor misunderstanding to an expensive criminal charge.

One of the first things you need to know is that charges are often based on the amount allegedly stolen. There is a big difference between shoplifting a candy bar and a $10k watch.

Here are some things you need to know:

  • You don't have to make a statement. In fact, it's often best to remain silent if you have been accused of shoplifting. You will have time to explain your side of the story later on.
  • Know your rights. Although the store or security officers may have the right to retain you until police arrive, they can't do so with excessive force.
  • Mistakes can happen. There are times when a storeowner or associate believes a person is shoplifting, just to find that they made a big mistake. Don't hesitate to explain yourself, as to give the person a clear idea of why they were wrong.
  • Shoplifting laws vary. For example, you could face a shoplifting charge even if you don't actually remove something from the store without paying. An example of this is if you create a distraction while another person commits the crime.

Since there are criminal penalties for all types of shoplifting, it's imperative that you know your legal rights and how to protect them at all times.

Depending on the details surrounding the charges, such as the value of the item in question, you could face a serious penalty, such as a large fine. By learning more about the charges and the right defense strategy, you can help avoid punishment and put this situation in the past once and for all.

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