Being accused of shoplifting is embarrassing at best. It can also, however, be frightening – after all, you are facing a legal charge that you need to take seriously. In Texas, the charge of shoplifting comes with some hefty penalties and fines. If you do find yourself in this predicament, it is important to remain calm, to know your rights, and to invoke them. It sounds like a tall order, but it need not be. Read on to learn more.
In the State of Texas, the charge of shoplifting is housed under the larger category of theft. Theft refers to taking someone else’s property without his or her consent and with the intention of keeping the property from its rightful owner. Shoplifting in Texas can take all of the following forms:
- Taking an item from a store without paying for it
- Altering or switching price tags to avoid paying the full price
- Writing a bad check for your purchase
The definition of shoplifting is actually quite broad. While being accused of shoplifting can throw you for a loop, it’s important to remain as calm as you can to ensure that you ultimately invoke your rights in the matter. (Are Shoplifting and Petty Theft the Same Thing?)
The Retailer’s Rights
The retailer that accuses you also has rights, and knowing them can make it easier not to overreact if the store chooses to implement them. These rights include:
- The right to have an employee or security guard question you about the alleged theft
- The right to detain you while the store calls the police (What to Do if You Get Arrested or Detained)
- The right to tell you not to return to the store in question
If allegedly stolen goods are found on you, the store has the right to bring a shoplifting charge against you, and the police officer at the scene may write you a citation or arrest you as a result.
You have been charged with shoplifting, and it is difficult not to be incensed by the accusation, but it may help for you to remember that the employee, security guard, and/or police are simply doing their job, and you will have your opportunity to refute the charge. By keeping your cool, you will be better prepared to make solid decisions as you move forward in the process. If you have a receipt on you that disproves the allegation, now is the time to share it, but if not, it is important to remember that the following rights all belong to you:
- You have the right to see their proof.
- You have the right to remain silent. (Do Not Neglect to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent)
- You have the right to legal representation anytime in this process.
The sooner you request a criminal defense attorney, the better off you will be. (Read more about what to do when accused of shoplifting)
It Is Time to Consult with an Experienced Lawyer
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a savvy criminal defense lawyer who is on your side and here to help. For more information, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.