Shoplifting charges are no petty matter

From your youngest days, you may have enjoyed a good thrill. Perhaps your parents loved hearing you squeal when they tossed you into the air and caught you in their strong and secure hands. As you grew, you certainly enjoyed roller coasters and maybe even a dirt bike. It's possible that your taste for a thrill grew in other ways, too.

You may have enjoyed seeing how much you could get away with at school and at home before your game finally got you into trouble. While the consequences of your actions may have seemed pretty severe, they may pale in comparison to the penalties you face for accusations of shoplifting.

The law defines shoplifting

Some people shoplift for the thrill, and others have a compulsion. A few take things from retail stores because they need them and can't afford them, such as baby food or laundry detergent. It may also be that a retail employee has wrongfully accused you of shoplifting. Whatever the situation, it may be helpful to have a general understanding of laws regarding shoplifting.

Shoplifting is not a crime to take lightly. It is theft, and Massachusetts retail owners lose enough money to shoplifters that they are willing to prosecute as a means of deterrence. A shoplifting charge means police have reason to believe you took an item with the intention of depriving the store of that item or the full price of the item. Some ways shoplifters accomplish this include:

  • Hiding merchandise in their hands, clothing or bags and removing it from the store without paying
  • Switching price tags from lower-priced items to more expensive items
  • Changing the prices on tags or signs
  • Putting more expensive items into the containers of lower-priced items
  • Removing a store-owned shopping cart from the retail premises

It may also interest you to know that, contrary to what some believe, you do not have to leave the store property with the merchandise for security or store employees to detain you for shoplifting. Suspicions that you have concealed items under your clothes or in your bag may be enough probable cause for authorities to accuse you of shoplifting.

Protecting your future

If you are facing allegations of shoplifting, you are dealing with more than just the threat of a fine. Depending on the value of the merchandise and the number of times you have been convicted of shoplifting or similar offenses, your penalties may include much higher fines and potentially jail time if you are convicted. Additionally, you will have a criminal record that will likely impede you from many life goals.

Facing these charges without appropriate legal counsel may deprive you of options for reducing the severity of the penalties or seeking other alternatives. As in your younger days, you may find it helpful to have strong, secure hands to prevent you from falling into legal trouble that may impact your life.

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