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What to expect and do if you're accused of shoplifting

Any type of theft crime can land you in hot water with the law. For example, an accusation of shoplifting is nothing to take lightly. If you assume that this will have no impact on your life, you may find yourself surprised at what the future brings.

Here are a few things to expect and a few steps to take if you find yourself in a bad spot:

Don't say anything. If you are detained at a store, you don't have to say anything to the security team that is questioning you. In some cases, it's better to remain quiet than to say something that could come back to haunt you in the future.

Know your rights. While security officers and store owners have the right to detain somebody on suspicion of shoplifting, this does not give them the right to treat you with excessive force.

There is more than one type of shoplifting. This does not always mean that you take an item without paying for it. Another example of shoplifting is swapping a high price tag for a lower one.

Mistakes happen. If a store owner or security team is paranoid about shoplifting, such as if this has become a problem in the recent past, they may be quick to take action against "suspicious" shoppers. Unfortunately, this may lead to a case in which an innocent person is accused of a crime he or she did not commit.

Get legal help. There are many penalties for shoplifting, including community service, a fine, or the requirement to attend an education program. With this in mind, you realize that a shoplifting conviction can alter your life in many ways. Rather than take your punishment as it comes, you can consult with an attorney to ensure that you know and protect your rights at all times.

There is no denying the fact that there are many crimes more serious than shoplifting, however, this doesn't mean you should take this lightly. This is a serious accusation and one that you should fight in the appropriate manner. By taking the right steps at the right time, you can avoid a punishment that could change your life (for the worse) now and in the future.

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