Accused of Shoplifting? What You Need to Do.

shopliftingHave you been charged with shoplifting? Do you know what your options are?

With over $35 million of merchandise lost each day and approximately 27 million convicted of the crime, it is no surprise shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed in the United States. The demographics of a shoplifter involve almost every type of person: old, young, wealthy, poor, men, women, etc., so the typical shoplifter is difficult to personify.

Regardless of who commits the crime, their goal is to get the best possible outcome from their case. If you have been charged with shoplifting, consider these tips during your time before going to court.

  1. Stay calm – Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Be sure to remain calm, take deep breaths, and not let your language and statements be fueled by anger and frustration. When all else fails, take full advantage of your right to remain silent because anything you say can be used against you in court.
  2. Know your criminal record – Was this your first offense for shoplifting? Was this your first misdemeanor? Was this the first time you have ever been charged with anything? Know what past offenses you may have. Having this knowledge will help you get an idea of what the judge will think when your case is reviewed.
  3. Know the products shoplifted – In some states, the difference between getting a misdemeanor and a felony is the difference of a few dollars of the value of the product shoplifted.
  4. Know the punishments – Seeing as shoplifting charges vary from state to state, research what the laws and consequences are in your state. A lot of those consequences are dependent on prior criminal record and the value of the products shoplifted.
  5. Contact a lawyer – Above all, be sure to contact a lawyer to know your legal rights during the process. The experienced lawyers at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss are knowledgeable in the area of criminal law and are available to help you or your loved one through the legal process.

Image courtesy of Daniel Lobo/Flickr