What Rights Do You Have When You’re Accused of Shoplifting - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Being accused of shoplifting, especially during the busy holiday season when stores are crammed with shoppers, is a truly frightening experience. Maybe a store employee claims he saw you slip something into your purse, or perhaps you accidentally left a store with something you intended to put down.

No matter what happened, being accused of shoplifting is anything but a pleasant experience.

But even if the police are called, you’re arrested, and you’re officially charged with shoplifting, you still have rights thanks to the U.S. Constitution.

What Are Your Rights When You’re Accused of Shoplifting?

As with any criminal charge, you’re innocent of shoplifting until you’re proven guilty in court. It’s not your responsibility to prove that you’re innocent. Instead, it’s the prosecutor’s job to prove that you’re guilty. The prosecutor has to present evidence to the judge and jury that convinces them that you shoplifted with the intent of keeping whatever you took.

You have the right not to say anything to police until you’ve had a chance to talk to your attorney, and your attorney can be present with you during questioning, too. (Most Milwaukee attorneys will advise you to avoid answering investigators’ questions other than basic information, such as who you are and where you live, until they arrive.)

While you do have to be respectful to the police, don’t feel like you need to proclaim your innocence – even if the person questioning you tries to get you to talk. Simply say that you want to talk to your lawyer before you answer any questions. The police have to give you an opportunity to get in touch with an attorney, so make sure they know you want that chance.

Were You Accused of Shoplifting?

If you’ve been accused of shoplifting in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin, call us right away at 414-383-6700 for a free case review. Tell us what happened and we’ll start putting together an effective defense.

Carlos Gamino