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How Serious Of A Crime Is Shoplifting?

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woman putting stolen item in her purse at store

How Serious Of A Crime Is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the United States. People of all ages, genders, educational backgrounds, economic backgrounds and cultural backgrounds may commit this crime. While shoplifting is often described as a "victimless" crime, it has considerable impacts on employees, consumers, the economy and businesses. Nearly all retailers have extensive camera networks, uniformed and non-uniformed security personnel and technology that make it easy to detect shoplifting. If you find yourself facing misdemeanor or felony shoplifting charges, it's critical to have legal representation.

What Shoplifting Is

Shoplifting is the act of taking a product without paying for it. Adolescents are the most likely to shoplift and get caught. Their actions typically involve low-value items. Adults also engage in shoplifting. An adult is more likely to use a creative strategy, so they may shoplift a few times before they get caught. One example of shoplifting is switching price stickers on items. Another example is using the self-checkout and scanning a low-value item but bagging a high-value item in its place.

Criminal Shoplifting Charges

You don't have to have a successful shoplifting experience to be charged with shoplifting. If you're caught on camera hiding unpaid items in your bag, clothing or on your person, you may be charged with shoplifting. Misdemeanor shoplifting is when you shoplift items up to $400 in value. That could be one item or many items. Felony shoplifting charges may be pressed if you take items more than $400 in value in one shoplifting event.

What Could Happen If You're Caught Shoplifting From a Store

If you're caught shoplifting from a store, the store may call the police. The police may arrest you or give you a summons to go to court. This may depend on your age and the value of the items. You may be charged with an infraction, which has a fine and possible probation. If you're charged with a misdemeanor, you could face fines of up to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail. Felony or grand theft charges for shoplifting include higher fines and a longer period of jail or prison time. These charges will stay on your record. If you're arrested for shoplifting, you need to hire an attorney as quickly as possible.

If you're facing any criminal charge related to shoplifting, you need a lawyer to explain your rights. We offer legal consultations and representation for people who are facing shoplifting charges. If you're the parent or guardian of a minor who has been charged with shoplifting, we're prepared to provide you and your family with legal counsel. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at Abt Law Firm, LLC, today.