Is It Possible to “Accidentally” Shoplift? A California Criminal Defense Attorney Explains

Is It Possible to “Accidentally” Shoplift? A California Criminal Defense Attorney Explains

Although it sounds like something from a movie, unintentional shoplifting actually occurs. California law provides strong penalties for shoplifting, sometimes known as petty theft. Petty theft is considered a misdemeanor if the item’s value is $950 or less. On the other hand, grand theft, which can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony, occurs when the worth of the goods taken exceeds $950.

Accidental Shoplifting is Possible

According to California criminal law, shoplifting is defined as stealing goods from a store without paying for them. They frequently offer to pay for the goods right away and instantly blame it on an error or accident. The truth is that these individuals frequently had full knowledge of what they were doing and were merely attempting to avoid difficulties.

Shoplifting can, however, occasionally be an accident. This can occur when a person steals goods from a store without intending to deny the store owner of the goods. Intention underlies the entire problem. It is not theft if someone takes something accidentally or by mistake.

Instances of Shoplifting Accidents

Imagine a scenario in which a shopper entered a store and loaded her cart with the goods she want to purchase. Smaller objects ended up dropping inside one of the larger pieces. The smaller items weren’t rung up, but neither the cashier nor the customer noticed. The shopper discovers that she didn’t pay for them after she has already left. She must go back to the store and pay for the things in order to comply with the law.

A person bringing something through the store that they want to pay for is another illustration. They simply stroll by the cash register to answer a phone call, even though they have goods they have not yet paid for. If there was a security guard there, they would have every authority to question and detain the individual. Yet, the alleged shoplifter would probably not be found guilty if there was no evidence that he had tried to hide the goods.

A Number of Legal Defenses Exist for Accidently Shoplifting

The unfortunate reality is that the police and security personnel frequently hear the phrase “it was an accident,” thus they are reluctant to trust it. Here is when cameras can be useful. The likelihood that someone will not be convicted of a crime increases if we can demonstrate that they took an item and put it in their basket before paying for it rather than if the camera film reveals them glancing about before slipping it into their pocket.

If you’ve been accused of any theft-related offense, you should have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Chambers Law Firm can help with that. Call us at 714-760-4088 right away to schedule your free legal consultation. We will put up a fierce battle to make sure that your legal rights are upheld and that your case has the highest chance of success.

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