When a person is accused of shoplifting, it means that he or she is being accused of taking commercial property without permission, and without the intent to return it. Many commercial stores and malls are equipped with video cameras that enable successful charges to be made. However, in other situations, a "he said, she said" scenario can occur, and it can be difficult to establish the turn of events.
It is important to make a distinction between shoplifting and other types of theft. Shoplifting is usually seen as a less serious type of crime than burglary, for example. A theft can only be considered as shoplifting if it involves taking commercial property.
What are the different types of shoplifting?
Usually, the illegal act of shoplifting involves an individual or a group picking up an item in a store, concealing it in some matter and attempting to take it with them without paying for it and without the intention of returning it. However, shoplifting laws also prohibit manipulating commercial items in an attempt to avoid paying the full price. This might include the manipulation of price tags and bar codes, or repackaging products so as to attempt to conceal their true value at the checkout.
What are the consequences of shoplifting in Washington?
If you are found guilty of shoplifting, the consequences that you have to face will depend on the value of the products stolen. The charge can also increase if firearms or explosives are stolen.
If you have been accused of shoplifting, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. An attorney can help you learn more about your options.
Source: FindLaw, "Shoplifting," accessed March 14, 2018