Shoplifting is a major problem for many retailers, but it is one that they might not address by chasing after the person they believe is stealing. They are concerned about the possibility of facing legal action if they chase someone who actually wasn't shoplifting. This doesn't mean that people are free to take what they want.
It is possible that even if someone who took something is able to leave with it that they will face legal issues later. Many stores have security cameras that capture footage police can use to try to find shoplifters. Other security options are also in place at many stores. All of this can be used to further the prosecutor's case if someone is apprehended and charged.
What is shoplifting?
In the broadest sense, shoplifting is any method used to attempt to deprive the owner of the store from the profit due to them for their merchandise. This encompasses things like trying to leave with items that aren't paid for but it also includes changing price tags. It is possible to face a shoplifting charge for trying to conceal items even if no attempt is made to leave the store.
Anyone who is in a store should ensure that they are only placing items where it is clear that they intend to purchase them. One retailer notes that people are starting to do things like putting merchandise in a child's stroller in order to steal them since the store employees can't touch those items without the parent's permission.
How is shoplifting handled in Louisiana?
The value of the merchandise in question is what determines how a case is handled. The cumulative value is what's used in these cases. Anything under $1,000 is a misdemeanor, but everything above that is a felony. These are the maximum possible incarceration terms for each of the four levels of theft:
- Under $1,000: 6 months
- $1,000 to $4,999: 5 years
- $5,000 to $24,999: 10 years
- $25,000 or more: 20 years
With these penalties, it's easy to understand why you should work on your defense strategy immediately if you're facing criminal charges for shoplifting. There's also the possibility that other penalties, such as probation, restitution, fines and community service will be penalties. Working closely with an attorney familiar with these matters is beneficial since they can help you to learn your options for a defense.