So you go into the grocery store and load up your shopping cart, once you return to the front of the store you notice the lines are insanely long. Instead, you decide to use the self checkout lanes. Once you get to the register, you begin to scan your items and a few items are giving you issues. Out of mere frustration, you decide that if it does not scan you will place them in your shopping bag. Because technically, you tried. Now, you have paid for the majority of your things so you think nothing of it but just as you make it outside of the grocery store door, you are approached by what seems like store loss prevention, or even a law enforcement officer. They ask to see your receipt and compare the items in your bags, to the items listed on your receipt. In doing this, they realize a few items were unaccounted for. This is where things get extremely frustrating, you have paid for even 95% of your items, but that 5% may land you in jail. No matter the amount of items or how much they are worth, stealing is stealing. And if you or someone you know has been detained or arrested for shoplifting or petty theft, you may need to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Although it is common to confuse, the difference is with shoplifting there is a minimum value required, so it is common to confuse the two charges; much like theft and grand theft.
Petty theft is just as it sounds, petty. The amount may be very low such as $200 or even $250 dollars or less. However, much like any other criminal offense, the prosecutor must prove certain facts before any charge can stick. They must prove the accused is the one who possessed the item in question. With that knowledge, they must also ensure that the item was actually taken. This means, they cannot charge you for wearing a jacket you did not pay for while still inside the store. If the jacket was to be taken outside of the store then they must also prove that it was without the approval or knowledge of the owner, and that the accused had no intention of returning it. There are cases where even if it was a “temporary steal”, you can still be prosecuted. Your better choice is to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney in Decatur, GA, like the office of The Lynch Law Group if you are ever charged. The right attorney will review the options available to you by dissecting the facts of the case and helping build a defense.