Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Traffic Violations, and Family Law & Divorce

Can an honest mistake lead to shoplifting charges?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2022 | Theft & Property Crimes

It’s no secret that shoplifting is a big problem in the United States. Stores lose billions of dollars annually to thieves who steal items without paying for them. 

But what happens when an honest mistake leads to a charge of shoplifting? Can you be convicted of a crime you didn’t mean to commit? 

What are the penalties for shoplifting?

Shoplifting is the act of taking merchandise from a store without paying for it. In Maryland, shoplifting is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. 

The penalties for shoplifting can be increased if the value of the stolen merchandise is over $1,000 or if the offender has prior convictions for shoplifting or other theft-related offenses. In addition, some stores may pursue civil action against shoplifters in order to recover damages.

When most people think of shoplifting, they picture someone intentionally concealing merchandise and walking out of the store without paying for it. However, there are a number of situations where an honest mistake can lead to a shoplifting charge. For example, you can be charged with shoplifting if you mistakenly leave the store without paying for an item because you forgot it was on the bottom rack of your cart.

Being arrested for shoplifting can be a frightening and confusing experience. It is important to remember that you have rights and that you are innocent until proven guilty. With legal guidance, you can develop a strong defense. They will help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights and your future.