Outside of DUIs, one of the most common crimes during the holidays is shoplifting. In fact, shoplifting occurs the most during November. Finances can get tight around this time of the year, and some people may be tempted to shoplift, especially if they are in a crowded store where they think that no one will see them. However, the consequences for shoplifting can be more severe than you might think.
Shoplifting During the Holiday Season
Many stores place tags on their products so that the alarm goes off if they leave the store. However, you might think that you're in the clear if a store doesn't have such security at its doors. You might want to think again – not only do many stores have significant camera systems set up, but they often have plainclothes security guards patrolling the stores, especially during the holidays. You could get caught before you even attempt to leave.
The Consequences of Shoplifting
Don't be surprised if the store calls the police if you're caught, even if the item you attempted to shoplift is of minor value. They often have signs up saying that they will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, and they're usually good for their word. You could be charged with a misdemeanor and taken to civil court as well. A misdemeanor may not seem like a big deal, but it could tarnish your record.
On the other hand, you may be given the option of paying a fine, but these fines often far exceed the value of what you were accused of stealing. Paying the fine doesn't protect you from facing charges or a civil suit.
If you've been caught shoplifting during the holidays, whether you were doing it on purpose or you did it by accident (accidental shoplifting does occur: for example, if you forgot to take off the jacket you were trying on, or if you stashed a product on the bottom of your cart or stroller and forgot about it), then you'll want to contact a lawyer who can help plead your case. Be sure to contact us at Garcia Law PLLC to schedule a consultation today.