If I unintentionally stole some lottery tickets from my work can I be charged with a federal felony?

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If I unintentionally stole some lottery tickets from my work can I be charged with a federal felony?

I had set some lottery tickets aside that I was going to buy at the end of my shift. I didn’t want any customer to try and buy them so I stuck them in my pocket, still intending on paying for them at the end of my graveyard shift at 6 am. When my shift ended I totally spaced and walked out with the tickets. Needless to say I was fired, and then told I’d be facing federal felony charges without ever being given a chance to explain. What do I do?

Asked on January 19, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I think that the key here will be proving intent to steal but how the statute is written will really determine the outcome on that matter.  You will have a chance to explain everything should your ex-employer decide to follow through with the threat of filing federal felony charges or any charges for that matter.  I would wait and see what happens before you get yourself all in a tizzy on the issue but seeking a little advice from an attorney in your area never hurt either.  Did you offer to pay even after the fact?  Did you return the tickets or were they taken from you as evidence?  Getting help may really be what you need to allow you to sleep at night without fear here.  Good luck to you. 


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