Retail outlets treat shoplifting very seriously. Every year, shoplifting accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars of losses for businesses across the U.S.
Sometimes, it’s possible for shoplifting precautions to go too far, though. You may find yourself detained and charged for shoplifting for illegitimate reasons. Intent matters in shoplifting cases and if you have taken something by mistake, then you may have a legitimate defense in your case.
What are some of the more common examples of “accidental” shoplifting?
You’re browsing the store with your young children and they are starting to play up. One of them has a fall, and you need to attend to them quickly. To do this, you need two hands, so you’ve quickly placed the item that you were holding into your bag. After a while, everything settles down, but your child needs to see a doctor. You leave the store as quickly as possible to seek medical care for your kid, but you’ve forgotten about the item you placed in your bag.
You could face shoplifting charges for this, despite having no intention to steal.
More and more stores are beginning to use self-scanners. The idea behind this is that they make the shopping experience more efficient for guests. However, the technology is not flawless. You may believe that you have scanned something and paid for it, but the alarm goes off as you exit the store. The self-scanner did not pick up the item, and security believes you intentionally left with it. In some stores, there have even been instances of self-scanning customers being subjected to random checks.
This could lead to you being wrongly charged with shoplifting offenses.
According to the law in Mississippi, there must be a presence of criminal intent before you can be convicted of shoplifting. If you need some assistance defending criminal charges, it may be in your best interests to seek guidance from a knowledgeable party.