The act of stealing goods from a retail store is commonly referred to as “shoplifting”. Most people are aware of the term and understand that shoplifting may carry serious criminal consequences if the individuals is apprehended in the act. Shop owners, managers, and employees are often aware of the problem of shoplifting and are vigilant when watching the merchandise in the store and the actions of others who are in the establishment.
The severity of the crime often depends on the dollar amount of the items taken. Naturally, the theft of “big-ticket” items is usually more serious than taking small and inexpensive products. Regardless of whether the item is expensive or not, it is a crime to take goods from a store without paying for it. The owner of a retail establishment may choose to press criminal charges against the individual for shoplifting items of any price, and the person may be forced to face the consequences of his or her actions.
Shoplifting charges may range from slight misdemeanors to felony theft charges. Again, such charges often depend on the specifics of the case and how much was taken from the store. Individuals charged with shoplifting may be apprehended by police or security and may face jail time for their actions. They may also have criminal charges added to their permanent record and may find that the charges will have a long-term affect on their lives.
It is important to understand how shoplifting can affect individuals and how it affects store owners. Shoplifting reduces the amount of product that is on store shelves and costs retail establishments significant amounts of money each year. Because they are forced to pay for items that are stolen and do not recover any costs if the item is taken, store owners often have to pass the costs onto the consumers who are paying for their items, thus raising the cost of goods for everyone else.
Like most criminal charges, persons accused of shoplifting have the right to defend themselves in a court of law. There have been many instances of individuals being wrongly accused of committing the crime, and it is not fair that they pay the price for a crime they did not commit. If you have been wrongly accused of shoplifting, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
For more information on shoplifting and criminal defense, visit the website of the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Kohler, Hart & Priebe.