This category of crime covers theft, larceny, and more. The seriousness of the charge usually depends on the value of the items that were allegedly taken. Most importantly, however, is that some people arrested for shoplifting are innocent of the charges. To find more, read on.
What Happens Next?
Unless the dollar amount of the goods falls into the felony category, which varies by the state, your loved one is likely to be offered bail. Most states have defendants appear at an arraignment or bail hearing soon after the arrest. Once bail is paid, your loved one will be free to go. Make sure your loved one reads and understands the rules to follow while out on bail and that they note the date of any upcoming hearings.
Your loved one's first move after getting out of jail should be to speak to a criminal defense attorney. The potential punishment for being convicted of theft can be severe. It can affect your loved one's job as well, particularly if they work in the financial field or handle money.
What is Shoplifting?
Some people are surprised at easy is it to accidentally shoplift. For example, below are all examples of shoplifting:
- You forgot to fully unload your shopping cart and did not notice the bag of dog food.
- Your child grabbed a piece of candy from the register area and ate it.
- You removed a price tag so that you can see how much the price originally was.
- You failed to scan something at the self-checkout.
Defending the Charges
Your loved one's criminal defense lawyer will work to have the charges dismissed. Cases of accidental shoplifting are still crimes, however, unintentionally taking something from a store doesn't compare to those who stuff items in their bags. The lawyer will review the evidence, such as video recordings of the incident, and any other evidence the state has against your loved one.
Many cases are now settled using a plea bargain. In some cases, the plea bargain benefits your loved one. However, the defense lawyer will review the deal to ensure that it's a good deal. The ultimate decision is up to your loved one, however. A plea bargain means giving up the right to a trial. The intent will play a part in the value of the plea bargain.
Being convicted of this crime could mean high fines, probation, being banned from stores, and even jail time. Speak to a criminal defense attorney to find out more.