Shoplifting is a significant issue nationwide, including here in North Carolina. This is a problem that costs businesses and consumers a pretty penny every year and, as such, is not something that is taken lightly. Those accused of shoplifting may face a number of consequences if prosecutors are able to secure a conviction.
Shoplifting is also known as theft or larceny. In North Carolina, those accused of shoplifting will be charged with larceny of goods. This type of charge can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. The value of the product that was allegedly taken will determine at which level a charge will be issued.
There are two basic elements that are generally needed to file a shoplifting charge. These include willful concealment or taking possession of goods for sale and intent to take a product without supplying proper compensation or paying for the purchase. Part of this means that shoplifting charges can be filed if attempts to alter price tags or illegal attempts to avoid paying the full asking price for goods are made.
Store owners and employees are allowed, by law, to detain individuals they believe are shoplifting. The detention must be completed in a reasonable manner and only for a sensible amount of time. Those who have been detained by use of force or for unfair amounts of time may be entitled to pursue legal action against the business owner or employee deemed responsible.
The consequences associated with shoplifting in North Carolina include fines, jail time and/or probation. The severity of each of these penalties will vary based on whether misdemeanor or felony convictions were secured. In either case, those accused of shoplifting, young or old, would likely benefit from a strategic criminal defense on their behalf that keeps their best interest in mind.
Source: FindLaw, “Shoplifting“, Dec. 3, 2014