What to Do if You Get Caught Shoplifting

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  • Shoplifting is a serious crime with long-lasting consequences.
  • Take responsibility for your actions and apologize in the moment.
  • Be aware of potential legal repercussions such as fines, probation, or jail time.
  • Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help navigate any court proceedings.
  • Understand that a shoplifting conviction can affect your future employment and housing opportunities.

Shoplifting is a serious crime that can have long-lasting consequences for minors and adults. Unfortunately, the rate of people committing shoplifting is increasing. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion is stolen yearly from retailers.

It’s important to know what to do if you get caught shoplifting so you are aware of your rights and the potential repercussions of your actions. This blog post will discuss steps you should take when faced with a shoplifting charge.

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

First and foremost, it is important to accept responsibility for your actions and apologize for what happened. Acting responsibly in the moment will demonstrate maturity and accountability on your part and will be taken into account if any legal action is taken against you. While this may seem like a difficult step to take, it is also essential if you want to try to avoid a criminal conviction.

Be Prepared for the Consequences

Shoplifting is considered a crime in most states, so it is essential to understand that there could be some serious legal ramifications depending on the situation. Depending on where you live, shoplifting could result in anything from a warning from store security or police officers up to jail time or fines—or both! Additionally, if convicted of shoplifting charges, you may have difficulty finding employment in certain industries or getting accepted into certain schools.

Hire an Attorney

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Hiring an attorney specializing in criminal defense cases is highly recommended if legal action has been taken against you due to shoplifting charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney should guide the entire process and help ensure your rights are upheld throughout the trial proceedings. Moreover, they can work with prosecutors and seek alternative sentencing options such as community service or counseling instead of jail time or fines.

The Possible Consequences

You may think that you can get away with stealing for a quick thrill, but the consequences of shoplifting can be far-reaching and long-lasting.

Legal Consequences

If you are caught shoplifting, the legal consequences can include fines, probation, or in extreme cases, even jail time. Depending on where you live and the severity of your crime, these penalties can range from minor to severe. Additionally, being convicted of shoplifting will stay on your criminal record indefinitely, which can affect your ability to find employment and housing in the future.

Financial Consequences

Shoplifting comes with financial consequences as well. Not only do you have to pay any fines imposed by the court, but you may also have to pay restitution to the store or company whose goods were stolen. This means that if you steal something worth $100, for example, then you would need to pay back the store for that amount plus any additional court fees associated with your conviction.

Social Consequences

Your reputation is an important asset, and a shoplifting conviction can follow you everywhere. Even if it has been years since your conviction was filed, it will still appear when someone runs a background check on you, whether for employment or housing purposes. It could also haunt you socially depending on what circles you move in; friends or family members may not want to associate with someone who has committed a crime like shoplifting due to its moral implications.

Emotional Consequences

depressed young woman sitting on the couch

There are emotional consequences that come along with being caught shoplifting, such as guilt and shame, which can lead to depression and anxiety if not appropriately addressed. If left unchecked, these emotions can spiral out of control leading to more serious mental health issues down the road.

The Bottom Line

Getting caught shoplifting can be an intimidating experience, but understanding how best to handle the situation can make all the difference in mitigating any potential consequences that might arise from getting charged with theft crimes. The first step should always be accepting responsibility for your actions and apologizing for what happened; then being prepared for whatever consequences arise; finally, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help navigate through any ensuing court proceedings.

Taking these steps will help protect your rights and give you the best chance of avoiding more serious penalties such as jail time or hefty fines associated with theft crimes convictions.


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