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Steps to take if you’re accused of shoplifting

More so today than ever before, retail stores are on the lookout for shoplifters. And for this reason, you could find yourself accused of this crime when you actually did nothing wrong.

Here are three things you should do if you're accused of shoplifting by a store associate or security guard:

  • Don't walk or run away: If you didn't violate the law, you may be tempted to simply leave the scene. However, this can result in a scuffle and more aggravation than it's worth.
  • Explain yourself: Ask the person why they believe you were shoplifting. If you understand where they're coming from, you can then explain yourself. Remember, you weren't shoplifting unless you actually took the item out of the store without paying for it.
  • Don't say too much: If it's obvious that no explanation will work, keep quiet. You don't want to say too much, as doing so could result in a slip that makes you appear guilty and can be used against you in court. You're best off keeping to yourself and waiting to see how the process unfolds.

Even though shoplifting doesn't sound like the most serious criminal charge, it can have a far-reaching impact on your life. This is particularly true if you're charged with stealing an ultra-expensive item.

Once you understand your criminal charges, revisit the circumstances of your arrest with the idea of creating a defense strategy. When doing so, focus on anything that will prove that you weren't shoplifting. Your goal is to settle on a strategy that allows you to avoid a conviction and the consequences associated with it.

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