Every day in the U.S., over $35 million worth of merchandise is stolen from retail stores. This adds up to over $13 billion every year! Stores are forced to plan ahead and budget because of the staggering amount of money they lose every year. Who is most likely to shoplift? When adults were asked, 55% admitted to shoplifting while they were teenagers. Of those caught shoplifting, 25% are children and the remaining 75% are adults.
Shoplifting is a theft crime that involves the unlawful taking of goods from a merchant. Shoplifting cases can include leaving the store without paying for merchandise, switching price tags, altering price information or possessing tools to facilitate shoplifting. If a store employee has reasonable cause to believe that you are shoplifting, you can be detained by the employee, questioned by the employee regarding your purchases, and required to provide identification. The employee can also contact the police and initiate criminal proceedings.
An arrest for shoplifting should not be taken lightly due to the consequences of a conviction. Depending on the fact of your case, if you are found guilty of stealing from a merchant, you could be facing penalties such as:
- Jail time
- Community service
Shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the goods taken, whether or not the person possessed or used shoplifting tools at the time of their arrest, and the defendant’s criminal record. Aggressive defense in a shoplifting case is important, and can have a significant impact on its outcome. A lawyer can provide effective representation if you have been charged with shoplifting, and should be contacted at once to discuss your case. Who you choose to represent you could determine how severe your charges are.