Seeing something in a store that you love might make you want to do whatever you can do to get it. Unfortunately, some people, including teens and young adults, decide to just take the items without paying. This is known as shoplifting and can lead to very serious criminal charges.

Many people think that shoplifting is a minor offense. However, it can have great impacts on the remainder of the person’s life. There are many points that you need to know about this criminal charge.

What is shoplifting?

Shoplifting means that you try to take something that a merchant has for sale without paying for it. This can be done in a variety of ways, but the intent has to be to deprive the store of the items. Prosecutors can use several different methods to do this, so you have to ensure that you act quickly when you find out that you or your teen is going to face these charges.

Does a person have to leave the building?

You don’t have to try to leave the store in order to be charged with shoplifting. You only have to make an effort to conceal the merchandise to be charged. This could mean that the item is placed in a purse or another item, such as putting a shirt inside of an ice chest.

It is also possible to face shoplifting charges for changing the price of merchandise. For example, placing a clearance sticker on an item that isn’t part of the sale, changing an actual price tag or manipulating the barcode, are all criminal acts. Merchants have a right to receive the full compensation they are asking for each item. Trying to deprive them of this means that a person is shoplifting.

What does a person do if they are charged?

If you are facing shoplifting-related charges, you need to look at the specifics of the actual charge. These often vary according to the value of the merchandise. You are likely to face more serious penalties for the theft of a high value television than you are for makeup. Make sure that you consider what these are in your case so that you can plan your defense accordingly.

One thing to think about is how these charges might have an impact on your or your child’s life later. A conviction for shoplifting could limit job possibilities if an employer does a background check because they might be concerned about protecting their assets.