Anyone walking out of a store with merchandise they did not pay for runs the risk an arrest for shoplifting. If security discovers someone has unpaid items inside a bag, the situation does not look good. However, mistakes and mishaps happen, and people find themselves falsely accused. The misunderstanding may lead an innocent person into a California criminal courtroom. Thankfully, innocent until proven guilty applies.
False accusations of shoplifting
Store personnel might not have enough time to call the police. When a suspect heads for the exit, a security guard or another employee may take action to detain the person. However, they must follow the law when performing such actions. Unlawfully detaining a person without evidence without just cause could open doors for a civil lawsuit.
Now, someone falsely accused of shoplifting may become angry or indignant over the situation. Losing one’s temper might be the worst response since a confrontation could become physical. If so, assault and other charges could replace any unfounded shoplifting accusations.
If the store’s workers harm a suspect, civil litigation could result. Hopefully, any subsequent police report or video security footage may reveal the facts supporting the accused story.
Official charges and an arrest
Unfortunately, the situation could play out in a manner that shocks the person arrested. Maybe the individual did pay for the item, but the store claims he or she did not. Or, the item may already belong to the person, and they brought it in to the store with them. Still, the situation could spiral out of control and result in charges for theft crimes.
Evidence could point to the innocence of a falsely accused person. Presenting a receipt, for example, might establish the person owns the allegedly stolen item. Hopefully, the situation will end up resolved in court in the defendant’s favor. Compelling evidence may likely deliver that outcome.