Shoplifting is not a good habit to get into. Even though it may not seem serious to take a candy bar or to shoplift a piece of clothing, the reality is that if everyone did that, the shop owners could lose money and end up going out of business.
This is why shoplifting charges have to be taken seriously, even if they are for something that isn’t worth a lot of money. If the shop owner wants to press charges, they have the right to do so if they have evidence that you stole from them.
Can you really face charges for stealing something small, like a drink?
Surprisingly enough, you can face charges for shoplifting, even if the item taken wasn’t worth much at all. It’s up to the owner of that item to determine if they’d like to call the police and if they’ll pursue charges. It may not make financial sense to prosecute someone who stole something as minor as a soda or a small item, but it is possible to do so. Just because an item is small or of a low value doesn’t mean taking it without permission or paying is not stealing.
Shoplifting crimes include actions such as dining and dashing or stealing food. For example, if you’re on a date and the other person leaves without paying, you do need to pay for both meals. If you don’t, then you could face charges for dining and dashing. This kind of scenario could get you into trouble even if you pay for your own meal unless you get the owner to agree to let you cover half of the debt.
Stealing food, such as picking up an apple in a grocery store, eating it and not paying for it, could also be charged as shoplifting. If you do want to snack in the store, pay for the item first.
If you’re accused of shoplifting, even if the cost of the item is low, make sure you understand your rights. It’s possible to face a misdemeanor charge for stealing despite the lower cost of what was taken.