Shoplifting may seem like a minor offense, but the consequences of a conviction are often severe and long-lasting. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the significance of these charges until faced with the repercussions.
There are several reasons why you should take a shoplifting charge seriously.
The penalties can be significant
Although shoplifting is often treated as a misdemeanor, the penalties can still involve hefty fines and even jail time. A shoplifting conviction can lead to costly fines, potential jail time and a criminal record that will follow you.
It can impact your future
A shoplifting conviction makes finding a job and housing much more difficult. Most employers and landlords conduct background checks and a theft conviction will raise red flags. Shoplifting charges may also impact your ability to receive government benefits or student financial aid. The conviction stays on your record, so the impact can follow you for years.
The statistics show that retailers take it seriously
Retailers lost more than $112 billion to retail theft in 2022. With losses this high, stores are getting increasingly aggressive about pressing charges. As a result, the risk of getting caught and charged is higher than ever.
You have defense options
One of the biggest reasons that people underestimate the importance of dealing with shoplifting charges is because they believe that they have no recourse. There are several options for defense, including a lack of intent.
Given the substantial penalties, lasting impact on your future and aggressive prosecution, a shoplifting charge is nothing to take lightly. The consequences can stay with you for the rest of your life.