Although it may not sound serious, shoplifting can lead to a variety of punishments.

It doesn’t matter if you were accused of this crime or you are assisting a loved one (such as a teenage child), it’s imperative to learn more about the crime of shoplifting and the steps you should take to clear things up.

The value of the item has a lot to do with what happens next. For instance, there is a big difference between stealing a $5 item at checkout and a $5,000 piece of jewelry. In the event of a valuable item, it’s possible to face a misdemeanor or felony charge.

Here are some of the many steps to take:

  • Keep your cool and realize that you don’t have to talk. As angry as you may be, silence is often the best approach if you are accused of this crime.
  • Security officers and store owners have the legal right to detain you until police arrive, but they are not permitted to use unreasonable force that could cause injury.
  • There is more than one form of shoplifting. For instance, you don’t actually have to take an item in order to find yourself in trouble. If you assist a shoplifter in any way, you could find yourself in trouble.
  • There is a lot of gray area when it comes to shoplifting. For instance, a store clerk may assume that you were shoplifting, but he or she actually made a mistake.

Shoplifting is not the most serious crime, but it’s one that can land you in hot water with the law. This is why you need to know your legal rights if you ever find yourself in this position.

By taking the right steps at the right time, you put yourself in position to avoid a serious punishment that could alter your life. You should never assume that there is no way to protect yourself. There are many strategies that can help you put this complex situation in the past.