What do I do if I was cited for shoplifting because I walked out of the store by accident with a product?

I was returning an item and was in the store for 4 hours throughout the process. At one point while I was waiting I was looking at a couple of items. When I was done at one help desk and I was directed to wait elsewhere for more help, I placed everything in a shopping bag I had brought with me with what I was returning. I was there for at least an hour after that, trying to fix another issue and forgot that I had put the items in the shopping bag. When it was finally fixed, I walked out with the product, having forgotten in was in my bag. I was then grabbed by the security guard and brought back in the store and arrested.

Asked on July 2, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

Maury Beaulier / MinnesotaLawyers.com

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You would bwe very wise to retain an attorney. 

 
The collateral consequences of any theft can often be as serious as the criminal penalties offering a lifetime of frustration which can impact employment, renting apartments, entrance in to post-secondary education and anything that requires a background check.  Accordingly, a strong defense is necessary.
 
If you have no prior offense, a from of community diversion may be available which keeps the offense off of your record and preserves your future.  
 
Many lawyers offer free consultations for criminal matters.  You would be wise to take advantage of such a  consultation with an experienced attorney.   

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