Attorney Bradley Hawley

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Accidental theft does not have to be a shoplifting charge

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

When under investigation for shoplifting or other theft charges, you may feel overwhelmed. The truth about any crime, even shoplifting, is that it can carry long-term consequences. You do have rights to defend yourself, particularly when you believe you did nothing wrong. What happens if you face shoplifting charges when you never planned to steal? Can you face charges? 

Every day customers attempt to leave stores with unpaid items. In some instances, it is intentional. This is not always the case, however. In fact, many customers leave with unpaid items that they had every intention of paying for or that they did not notice in their possession. 

Young children sometimes grab items off a shelf and leave it in the stroller or cart, completely unnoticed by the parent. Sometimes you load an item into the bottom of the cart and forget to take it out once you reach the cash register. There is ample opportunity to forget to pay for an item, but if you leave the store with unpurchased goods, are you a shoplifter? The answer is no. 

According to Alabama law, a person commits theft if he or she intends to deprive the owner of the property. In the case of shoplifting, you would have to intend to take the item from the store. When you leave by accident, there is no intent behind the crime. 

To fight said charge, you must prove that you did not intend to steal the item. There must be ample proof that it is an accident. For more information about criminal defense, visit our web page.