A lot of people get caught shoplifting at Walmart, Target and other big-box stores, as well as at smaller, locally owned stores – but no matter where it happens, what are you supposed to do?
3 Things to Do if You’re Caught Shoplifting
If you’re caught shoplifting, you need to know that the state of Wisconsin will charge you with the crime of retail theft. The penalties can be very severe – and they can even include jail time, even if it’s your first offense. The law is really clear in outlining the penalties, which depend on the value of the property you’re accused of taking. If the value is:
- Under $500, it’s a Class A misdemeanor.
- Between $500 and $5,000, it’s a Class I felony
- Between $5,000 and $10,000, it’s a Class H felony
- More than $10,000, it’s a Class G felony
There are three things you should do if you’re caught shoplifting, including sticking around, avoiding admitting anything to police, and hiring an experienced retail theft attorney.
#1. Don’t flee store security.
Usually, the first person to confront you will be someone who works in the store. There are two reasons you should stick around: One, if the detention is illegal, your attorney can challenge it in court. Two, if you’re not cooperative with the store, it’s more unlikely that they’ll want to resolve the situation without involving the police.
#2. Don’t admit anything to police.
When the police arrive, you might be tempted to explain your side of the story or say that you’re innocent. Whether or not you’re innocent, you shouldn’t talk to police at all other than to say you’d like to speak to your attorney. No matter what you say, they can use your own words against you.
#3. Hire an experienced lawyer.
When you work with a lawyer, you’ll have the benefit of experience on your side. Your attorney has seen cases like yours and defended people in similar situations, and he or she understands what you’re going through, too. Your lawyer will answer all your questions and work hard to preserve your rights through every step of the process.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer Because You Were Caught Shoplifting?
If you were caught shoplifting, don’t wait – call us right away at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. You’ll talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights, answer all your questions and defend you in court.