Being charged with a shoplifting offense can lead to hefty fines and criminal charges. Therefore, it is important that you take action to address any accusation of shoplifting by understanding the law and being aware of your defense options.
Just because you are accused of shoplifting, does not mean that you will be found guilty. Everyone has the right to defend themselves against accusations that are made against them. Therefore, if you want to make sure that you are able to prove your innocence or minimize the consequences of the crime, you should be well-versed in the following defense options.
An honest mistake
You may be able to argue that you mistakenly removed property from a store because either you were unaware that you had it in your possession or because you believed that you had paid for the item. For example, a situation in which your young child puts an item into your handbag when you are not looking could lead to you being accused of shoplifting even though you did not take the item intentionally. Security camera footage may be able to back up your claims and help you to prove your innocence.
Showing that you tried to return the item
Showing that you returned to the store to try to give back the item can help your defense. It can help back up your claim that either you accidentally took the item or that after taking the item you expressed remorse and decided to return it. If you can show the latter, you may be subject to less serious consequences.
Claim of ownership
You may also be able to defend yourself against shoplifting charges by either proving that you own the item or you had a good reason to believe that you owned the item.
If you have been accused of shoplifting, it is important that you take early action to develop your defense strategy. By doing so, you will be in the best possible position to prove your innocence.