Watch out for shoplifting charges this Christmas

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Stores know shoplifters will target them during the next few weeks, so they ramp up their detection and prevention efforts. Unfortunately, this will lead to some innocent people getting detained and arrested. If it happens to you, it is crucial to be clear about the laws.

Unlike some states, Ohio does not differentiate between shoplifting and theft. Most shoplifting would fall into one of two categories:

  • Petty theft: The items are worth less than $1,000
  • Theft: The things are worth more than $1,000, but less than $7,500

Either charge could result in jail time – up to half a year for petty theft and up to a year for theft – and financial penalties. Any theft conviction will also give you a criminal record.

What can you do if wrongly accused of shoplifting?

Even if you did walk out of the store with unpaid goods, it does not mean you intended to. With so much else to do at this time of year, it is easy to make mistakes.

For instance, you have a dress you just tried on in your hand when your phone rings. It’s your child’s teacher asking where you are as the school play is about to start. Without thinking, you rush toward your car, only to be grabbed by a security guard because you still have a dress in your hand.

Or maybe you were in the toy store, and unbeknown to you, your toddler pulled a toy he liked the look from the shelf into his buggy for a closer look. On leaving the store, the alarm sounds and the store manager accuses you of trying to smuggle the toy out.

Being accused of shoplifting may well ruin your holiday. Discovering your defense options reduces the chance it will ruin your life.