Did you notice that right after Halloween was over, most stores were already putting up signs for Christmas sales? Yup, that’s right. Forget about Thanksgiving “Black Friday”, we are already in the Christmas shopping season. While you are busy making a list, many stories are focused on something other than your purchases. They are focused on those who they believe to be stealing from them during this holiday season.
Shoplifting is no joke. Most people think of shoplifting as petit theft, and they are right. But the difference is those same people don’t think of petit theft as a major crime. If you are arrested for petit theft, you may face a first degree misdemeanor for any items stolen over $100 but less than $300. A first time offender who steals less than $100 will face a second degree misdemeanor. What about habitual offenders? Well, they may be charged with a third-degree felony and can face up to five years in prison, and the amount stolen during the theft doesn’t factor into the sentencing. Becoming a convicted felon and losing many of your civil rights sounds pretty serious for “just shoplifting”.
One store you never want to be accused of shoplifting by is Walmart. They used to have a “zero tolerance” policy towards shoplifting, but recently they changed it to anything over $25. But don’t take this as a sign of weakness. This new policy was aimed at punishing their employees, whom they believe stole from the company. So imagine if you are a customer and you accidentally forget to pay for something? They have a long history of punishing alleged shoplifters.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial that you obtain a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling shoplifting cases. The holiday shopping season is stressful as it is, without you worrying about legal troubles.