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The elements of shoplifting and what to do if accused

When an individual takes something that does not belong to them, this could result in a theft charge. In general, shoplifting refers to the theft of merchandise from a store or business. Shoplifting falls into the category of larceny crimes. Larceny crimes include taking the property of another without their permission and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property that was taken. Shoplifting charges can depend on the value of the property that was shoplifted. In addition, depending on the state and situation, shoplifting charges may be felony or misdemeanor charges and are charged according to different degrees. The penalties and consequences associated with larceny and shoplifting crimes can be serious.

Individuals accused of shoplifting may be charged according to larceny statutes or various shoplifting statutes, depending on the state. Though they may vary, shoplifting statues generally include two elements. The elements of a shoplifting charge include willfully concealing or taking possession of items being offered for sale and the intent to deprive the rightful owner, which is commonly the store, of possession of the items without paying the purchase price for them.

In some circumstances, concealing items may be considered enough for a shoplifting charge, though the accused individual did not leave the store with the items. In some situations, concealing the item or items may be viewed as evidence of intent to deprive the owner of possession of the items as part of a shoplifting charge. Altering items to avoid paying the purchase price of an item may also be considered shoplifting in some circumstances.

Shoplifting charges can result in fines and jail time in some circumstances. Shoplifting charges can have a significant impact on the life an accused individual, which is why it is necessary for them to be familiar with their criminal defense rights and options which all accused individuals enjoy.

Source: Criminal.findlaw.com, "Shoplifting," Accessed May 21, 2017

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