Shoplifting is a serious crime, particularly if you have previous shoplifting convictions. However, with the assistance of an attorney, you may be able to avoid substantial jail time.
Allegedly turning a shoplifting incident into an assault could mean the difference between a few months and a few decades in prison for one Nebraska man.
A shoplifting conviction may lead to a Class II misdemeanor charge that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine if the merchandise you stole was worth less than $200 and you have no previous convictions. Shoplifters with previous convictions or who steal more valuable merchandise can face one to 25 years in prison and fines between $1,000 and $15,000.
Penalties for assault with a deadly weapon
Depending on the exact charges, the decision to use a deadly weapon, such as a knife, to escape a shoplifting conviction could result in up to 50 years in prison. In addition to assault charges, attacking someone while committing a theft could lead to attempted murder, robbery, concealed weapons and other charges.
What to do if you are facing arrest for shoplifting
There are several steps to take to increase your chance of successfully defending a shoplifting charge:
- Do not run from store security
- Do not talk to the police
- Hire a criminal defense lawyer
- Show up for your court date
The most important thing to do when you are facing criminal charges is to not make your situation worse by committing additional crimes or compromising your defense.