Some stores and malls are overzealous when it comes to protecting their goods. That can lead to innocent or otherwise well-meaning people being stopped and accused of shoplifting.
If you are ever accused of shoplifting, the consequences could range from immigration complications to jail time, so it’s essential to understand your defense options. These are a few of the common scenarios that can inform a potentially successful defense.
1. Your child took the things
Anyone who has raised children will likely have experienced an embarrassing moment when they realize that their little angel has taken (or is trying to take) things from a store without asking. If store security discovers a boxed children’s toy in your cart or a bag of sweets in your coat pocket, they might assume you took it. Your child is unlikely to admit it was them, but the nature of the goods in question could support your (truthful) account of what happened.
2. Someone else was using you
Another option is that a genuine shoplifter could use you as an unsuspecting mule. They take the item from the shelf, hide it in your cart or clothing, then, if you make it out, they’ll sidle past, distract you and take it back. If you get caught, they won’t be anywhere to be seen.
3. You intended to pay
Your cell phone rings. It’s your son’s school, and he’s fallen from the climbing frame and cracked his head open. You’re probably already halfway out of the store the moment you see it’s the school ringing, and you may forget to put down anything you were holding or had draped across your bag or cart so you could free your hands to answer your phone.
A shoplifting conviction could harm your immigration application even if you are totally innocent, so be sure to seek legal help if you are facing charges.