What Everyone Should Know Before Facing Detention For Shoplifting

7 April 2020
 Categories: Law, Blog


With loss prevention taking a front seat for many retailers, more people are finding themselves detained by store security under suspicion of shoplifting. Understanding what you should do in a situation like this is important. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind in case you are ever detained by store security for shoplifting.

Don't Fight Security

If you are approached by store security, especially if they grab your arm to lead you to the back of the store, it's important that you don't resist them. Fighting them could lead to assault charges and other additional criminal charges in your case. 

You can, however, ask them to remove their hands from your body. Tell them you will follow them but that you would prefer that they not touch you. If they don't comply, you might have grounds for an assault or unlawful detention claim depending on the circumstances.

Know Your Rights

Make sure that you are familiar with your state's laws regarding your rights in this type of situation. In most cases, they must have probable cause to search your bags, purse, or other belongings. 

Additionally, you do not legally have to consent to such a search. If you are asked whether or not they can search your belongings or your person, you do have the right to refuse. Often, it's best to allow them to search your bags, but you should not consent to them searching your person. Voice your disagreement and don't volunteer.

Talk With A Lawyer

Legal defense is important when you are facing charges of shoplifting. While it may sound like a minor crime, shoplifting can bring with it significant financial fines and even jail time. Reach out to an attorney right away to build a defense.

For example, if you did have an item on your person, but you hadn't left the store yet, an attorney might be able to claim that you still intended to pay for the item. It's not technically theft unless you leave the premises with something that you haven't paid for.

The legal definition of shoplifting can vary from state to state, and a criminal defense attorney will understand your state's definition well enough to help you formulate a defense against the charge. As soon as you are detained, ask to speak to an attorney right away.

These are a few things you should understand in the event that you are ever detained for shoplifting. The more you know, the easier it is to protect your legal rights and potentially fight the charges.

For more information, reach out to a criminal defense attorney in your area.