Simply because you have been accused of shoplifting items from a store does not mean that you are necessarily guilty of the offense. In one case in another state, people of color were racially profiled and detained as suspected shoplifters at a Costco simply because the manager of the store told them that they “fit the bill.”
There is no doubt that shoplifting is a major problem for retailers, as they lose countless dollars in pilfered merchandise every year. But simply because retail theft is a big problem does not mean that you are guilty of a shoplifting charge.
How an arrest can arise
In some jurisdictions, a suspected shoplifter doesn’t have to even attempt to leave the premises to be arrested for shoplifting. Perhaps you are carrying an umbrella on a rainy day as you walk into your local mall. As you pass through the racks of a department store, unbeknownst to you, your umbrella gets entangled in some costume jewelry and a chain slips inside the umbrella’s folds.
If the store detective sees this, you could wind up detained and/or arrested even though you had no knowledge of the mistake or intent to steal the necklace.
Switching price tags is shoplifting
Any attempt to change the price tag on an item to reflect a different price at the register can be construed as shoplifting as well. But what if you simply picked up an item, looked at the price and were elated to find such a good deal? Even though somebody else may have made the switch, you could still be the one who gets arrested.
Shoplifting charges can ruin your life
If you are arrested on a shoplifting charge, it is imperative that you take it seriously. While it may be possible to defend yourself against the charge in court, you should begin crafting your defense from the moment of apprehension.
This typically means availing yourself of your right to remain silent. Admitting that you intended to shoplift the merchandise will come back to haunt you in court as you stand in front of the judge.
Understand that you cannot be compelled to self-incriminate and that anything you admit to will be used against you later. Therefore, remaining calm and non-threatening while refusing to answer any questions about the circumstances of your arrest until you speak to a criminal defense attorney is the wisest course of action.