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Can I Be Charged With Shoplifting Without Leaving The Store?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

July 2, 2021

If you haven’t left the store, you technically haven’t stolen anything, right? You may assume that you are safe from shoplifting charges as long as you are still in the store. However, this is not the case.

Florida Shoplifting Law

Florida’s laws regarding shoplifting have been carefully written so that you can be charged with shoplifting just by showing intent. If you take certain actions while inside a store that leads employees to believe you intend to shoplift, they can accuse you even before you attempt to leave. However, it is important to remember that only the police have the right to arrest for shoplifting.

Switching Price Tags

If you are caught switching price tags on merchandise, you can be charged with shoplifting. Even if you do not take these items to the register and attempt to pay for them, simply switching the tags is enough to warrant a shoplifting charge.
Similarly, taking any actions to manipulate the price tags is also enough to show intent to shoplift. An example of this could be writing a lower price on the tag so that employees think it has been marked down and ring it up accordingly.

Concealing Items

If you are caught putting items into your purse, pockets, or other bags, you can be charged with shoplifting. Often, employees will wait for you to exit the store before they confront you about the concealed items because it strengthens their case. However, you can still be charged while walking around in the store.

Switching Merchandise Containers

Moving the contents of a package into a lower-price container can also lead to a shoplifting charge. This shows your intent to pay less than the actual price by deceptively switching the packaging.

Defenses for Shoplifting

Lack of intent is one of the most common defenses against shoplifting. You can argue that what the employees or loss prevention officer perceived as intent to shoplift was a simple mistake.

Other common defenses include:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Someone else altered the price tag, you did not know

If you have been stopped in a store and accused of shoplifting, you have the right to fight those charges. Contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today to schedule an immediate case evaluationto discuss your case with our Miami shoplifting attorneys.