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Accused of Shoplifting in Chicago? You Have Rights

October 30th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Being accused of shoplifting can be a very embarrassing experience, and there’s a tendency to want to work with store managers or security personnel to clear the air. As an accused shoplifter, however, you have rights, too. If you have been accused of or charged with shoplifting, you could face penalties or fines, so contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney immediately.

 shoplifting, Chicago criminal defense attorneyStores across Illinois, like Jewel-Osco, are serious about shoplifting and are taking measures to reduce occurrences. This chain has taken self-checkout stations away with a growing concern that people were not paying for their items. Sometimes, however, customers are accused of shoplifting when they did nothing wrong, being pressured to admit to a crime they never committed. Being accused of shoplifting is both stressful and humiliating, especially if you’re a regular shopper at the store.

A merchant must have probable cause to accuse you of shoplifting. They also must witness you select the item yourself, so if an employee spotted you holding something after you picked it up, this could be an important detail for your trial. An employee or witness must have constant visual view of you to establish probable cause. Finally, you have to actually leave the store premises before you can be approached about not paying for the items.

The use of excessive force by store merchants, employees, or security personnel could violate your rights. Many times, merchants will demand that you sit in a back room and sign a statement admitting to theft, but you need to speak with an attorney who understands the importance of details in your case. It’s important to know that some merchants in Illinois may even seek financial damages from you after the fact, yet another potential consequence of being accused.  Working directly with an experienced Illinois criminal law attorney could be critical for your case and for your future.

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