Shoplifting allegations can plague even the most ethical person. You could find yourself accused of shoplifting even if you never leave a store with an item you didn’t pay for. Texas laws have a relatively broad definition of shoplifting, which some people also call retail fraud. Simply putting an item in a pocket or under something else in your cart could lead to allegations of attempted theft.
Depending on the value of the items allegedly involved, shoplifting offenses could be petty theft, or they could be grand theft, in some cases. Regardless of what theft charges you find yourself facing, you will undoubtedly want to push back against them to protect your freedom.
Any theft charge, even shoplifting, could compromise your reputation. It could impact your career and your relationships. Thankfully, there is a relatively high burden of proof that the prosecutor must meet in order to successfully prosecute a shoplifting case.
What kind of evidence does the retailer have?
To prove shoplifting charges, a retailer has to establish that you intentionally removed an item from the store or intended to deprive them of its value through your attempts to conceal or remove the item. In other words, blurry overhead security footage may not be enough.
However, some stores have state-of-the-art camera systems that record high-quality digital images in full color. The quality of the video could drastically impact your defense options. Many times, the courts also require some kind of eyewitness to a shoplifting attempt. Typically, the person who witnesses the offense should be a member of the management team or a trained loss prevention professional.
In other words, the prosecution should have a thorough and accurate record of what was taken, when you entered the store, what actions you took in the store, eyewitness accounts of your activity and video evidence corroborating that account.
You should always review evidence before deciding what your options are
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with what they perceive as minor offenses like shoplifting charges is to simply plead guilty regardless of the circumstances in order to avoid the expense, embarrassment and stress of a public trial.
When it comes to a theft offense, a guilty plea could impact your career, your professional licensing and even your ability to secure jobs in the future. In other words, you shouldn’t gamble with the risk of a criminal record. There’s also the potential for fines and even jail time in some situations.
Instead, you should speak with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney who can help you analyze the evidence and determine the best approach to defending yourself. It is possible to mount a successful defense against allegations of shoplifting in Texas. Challenging the charges because of a lack of adequate evidence could be an option in your case.