Could you face charges for accidentally taking an item? 

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Nebraska has detailed statutes relating to the crime of theft. A person can be accused of theft by deception, theft by extortion, theft by receiving stolen goods and theft by unlawful taking or shoplifting. 

The majority of us have been in the store, piling items into a basket or shopping cart. These carts and baskets can also be handy for storing our bags and purses until we reach the checkout. 

Upon getting home from the store you start to unpack your groceries. You notice that a small item has slipped into your bag without you being aware. It must have fallen in there when you were placing items into the basket. Could you face charges for this? 

Intent is important 

In such a scenario, the most likely charge that you would face is theft by unlawful taking (shoplifting). For this charge to stick, you must first have taken an item(s) without the permission of the owner. In this scenario, the owner has not given you permission to take the item in question. 

However, there is also a second qualification in the legislation, which is very important. You must also have had the intent to deprive the owner of that property. The item was taken accidentally, without your knowledge. Thus, you certainly had no intention of taking it or depriving the owner. 

Building a defense strategy 

Criminal intent is pivotal when it comes to shoplifting charges and if you find yourself in this situation it’s serious. Having legal guidance behind you will ensure that you can come up with the best possible defense strategy in your case.