Shoplifting is one of the most common types of theft crimes in Las Vegas. In 2021 alone, over 5000 cases of shoplifting were reported across town, amounting to 16% of all larceny-related offenses over the past year. It’s no wonder that shop-owners in town can be very particular about store security.
Shoplifting may seem like a minor offense, but its penalties can be pretty severe even for misdemeanors. You might have the misfortune of getting held up for such a crime yourself. When accused of shoplifting in Las Vegas, Here are a few things you should remember.
Your Right to Remain Silent
Suddenly being accused of shoplifting can put anyone on the spot. Most people would be unnerved and enter into a fight-or-flight mode. In the worst cases, the person may admit to committing the crime (even if they didn’t) or attempt to get away (which can exacerbate their legal problems later on).
One of the first things you need to remember in such situations is that whatever you say or do will be used against you in court, if it ever comes to that. Stay calm, provide only necessary information, and don’t do any actions that would leave you open to a worse charge later. Remember that you have a right to remain silent in such situations.
Shopkeepers And the Law
Related to the previous segment, you might think that the right to remain silent only comes into effect when dealing with any officers on the scene. However, you must know that the shop staff are legally allowed to detain any individuals suspected of theft until actual authorities arrive. That also equates to using force when possible to keep said individuals in custody.
That said, Shop staff still have to remember that there are certain rules when it comes to holding someone for suspected theft. They must show probable cause that the theft occurred, for one. In addition, they can only use reasonable force to detain the suspect; anything beyond that puts them in as much legal trouble as the suspected shoplifter.
Mistakes To Point Out
Distraction is one of those things that can affect people when they least expect it. Maybe an honest customer picked up an item by mistake even though they were only planning to browse. Maybe a staffer mistook someone else for the real shoplifter. In any case, someone made a mistake and now everybody is in hot water.
If the situation evolved out of a simple misunderstanding, just talk things over peacefully and civilly. Return any items taken by mistake, or pay up if you just forgot to. Let the staff apologize if they were the ones in the wrong; no need to drag things further. However, do remember that you may still be charged even if you didn’t take anything. In this case, you are at risk of being convicted as an accessory to a theft unless you can prove your innocence in court.
Shoplifting aren’t minor charges to dismiss. They’re also not something to overreact over. Get in touch with a veteran defense lawyer to help handle any possible legal complaints.