Facing shoplifting charges? Here’s what to know

You were strolling through Wal-Mart looking for the perfect gift item for an upcoming birthday. You didn’t find what you were looking for, so you decided to leave. As you were exiting the doors, you were detained by loss prevention personnel who accused you of shoplifting.

While you were being questioned, the loss prevention officer pulled a necklace and earring boxed set from your handbag. Nonplussed, you stammered that you had no idea how that got in there. Regardless, you were immediately arrested on the spot.

What can you do? It’s very important to realize that you have options when defending yourself against shoplifting allegations.

One of the elements of shoplifting is that you had to “willfully conceal” and take possession of the items you’re accused of shoplifting. If, for instance, the sleeve of your bulky winter coat inadvertently knocked the earring and necklace set into your open purse without your noticing it, that does not qualify as willful concealment.

Of course, the store’s loss prevention officer is likely to view it differently and argue that the move was intentional. But your attorney can robustly defend you against these shoplifting charges. They can argue that you have never faced an arrest like this before and that it was a mere mistake instead of a planned theft.

Shoplifting convictions can have many unpleasant long-term repercussions. You could wind up losing your job or be denied housing opportunities. You could be permanently barred from ever shopping at that store — or even any store in that retail chain. In short, your life could be adversely affected in all sorts of ways.

Don’t take it lying down. Fight back aggressively against shoplifting charges here in Texas.