R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Switching price tags can get you arrested

People who might never shoplift outright may attempt to get an extra discount on the merchandise they purchase by switching price tags to pay a substantially lower amount. Technology has advanced and made this more challenging with the use of RFID tags and barcodes, yet people still manage to get away with some price tag switches.

Until they get caught. One man in another state attempted to dupe Walmart out of a great deal of money by switching tags on $1,800 worth of merchandise and using the self-checkout lane to ring up only $3.70 on the register. He was caught.

But people can inadvertently switch merchandise packaging with no intent to defraud. Consider the case of an editor for The Wall Street Journal who was detained and interrogated at Kmart after she inadvertently purchased shoes that another shopper had returned to the wrong box.

While she wasnt arrested, the store personnel temporarily confiscated her credit card and driver's license and banned from the Kmart.

Retaill theft is responsible for nearly $49 billion in lost annual revenue from merchants so it's understandable why shop owners crack down on alleged thieves. But that doesn't mean that all who are accused are guilty.

If you get accused of shoplifting or switching price tags here in Houston, you could wind up being convicted in a Harris County courtroom. A theft conviction on your record should be avoided at all costs, as it can have long-reaching consequences into many different areas of a defendant's life that may not even be conceivable at the time of their conviction.

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