Anyone could make an honest mistake that has negative repercussions. Unfortunately, some mistakes have bigger consequences than others, and you could potentially face criminal charges if someone suspects that your mistake was actually intentional. As a result, you could find yourself needing to defend against such allegations in order to keep your name and reputation clear.
One situation that could result in unexpected charges is shoplifting. This type of crime has some blurry areas, and you may feel completely caught off guard when a person accuses you of attempting to carry out such an act. If you have recently found yourself in this predicament, you may want to find out more information on what may have caused the situation to come about.
Elements of shoplifting
The specific state laws regarding shoplifting vary, but typically, two elements play significant roles in determining whether a shoplifting offense occurred. Those elements include:
- Willfully concealing or taking for-sale items into your possession
- Intentionally attempting to take an item from its rightful owner without paying the indicated price
Because of the nature of these elements, you could potentially face shoplifting charges even if you do not leave the store with an item. For instance, if you conceal an item under your coat, in your bag, in your pocket or in other ways, you could face allegations. Though the intent to take the item must exists, most states take concealment as a sign of such intent. However, the possibility does exist that you may have unintentionally concealed an item.
Types of charges
The type of shoplifting charge brought against you could range in severity from a misdemeanor to felony depending on certain factors of your situation. Typically, the value of the items you are suspected of stealing or attempting to steal will determine the severity of the charges. As with most criminal charges, the more severe the allegation, the more severe the consequences could be in the event of a conviction.
Creating a defense
No matter how the charges for shoplifting came about, you have the right to defend yourself against the allegations. In order to determine your best courses of action for doing so, you may wish to obtain reliable legal information regarding your defense options. Speaking with a Texas attorney may allow you to gain specific insight into your case as well as gain a useful advocate.