Eden Prairie Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
Shoplifting seems like a relatively harmless crime, but the law takes it very seriously. When you shoplift something, regardless of its value, you are not only throwing off a store’s inventory, but you are taking the cost of the item and potential profit right out of their pocket. If everyone started shoplifting, brick and mortar stores wouldn’t be able to stay in business very long at all. For this reason, the law has to come down hard on shoplifters.
It is believed by many that you can’t be charged with shoplifting until you walk out the door, but this isn’t true at all. In fact, shopkeepers can detain you and file shoplifting charges even if you tucked something in your pocket and were fully intending to pay for it. This is why it is so advised to never put merchandise in a purse or pocket since if an employee sees it, they are within their right to detain you and call the police.
However, regardless of if you had the intent to shoplift or not, if you are detained, what you do in the following moments can greatly affect any impending legal action. So if you were caught and detained, you need to take these three steps.
- Remain Silent – You have the right to remain silent and no matter what crime you are accused of, you should exercise it. This is particularly important when being questioned by police without a lawyer present, but even if it is just you and shopkeeper, what you say can make an impact on the case. While you can maintain your innocence, never admit to shoplifting.
- Deny Search Rights – A shopkeeper may think they have the right, but they do not have the authority to search your person, your cell phone, or your car until the police and your lawyer are present. If you are carrying anything else you shoplifted, then it is very important to maintain this right.
- Call Your Attorney – It is best to carry your defense attorney’s card with you so you can hand it to the shopkeeper and demand that they call your lawyer. If this is your first offense, this may not be an option, but you can ask for an attorney after the police have arrived.
Punishment for Shoplifting
If you are caught shoplifting and it is your first or even your second offense, typically it will be charged as a misdemeanor. However, the punishment will also depend on the monetary value of the merchandise. If you stole something as cheap as a pack of gum, often the shopkeeper might not even bother calling the police over it. You might just be forced to pay for it or barred from the store.
However, if you stole something that was under $500 but with enough value to merit calling the police, then you could face up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. However, if you have multiple instances of shoplifting on your record, you now run the risk of that being bumped up to a felony, which means you could face much stricter punishments and a felony mark that will stay on your record.
If you have been caught shoplifting in one of Eden Prairie’s many fine shopping establishments, you need representation. While you might not have a defense attorney’s card on hand to give to the shopkeeper, but if you have been arrested, contact us today. Judith Samson, Attorney At Law is dedicated to representing the right of native Minnesotans in the Minneapolis area. She will help make sure you get the results you desire and keep your punishments to a minimum.
Please contact our attorney for the most up to date information regarding the current laws. This article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.