What is needed to convict a first time offender of shoplifting?

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What is needed to convict a first time offender of shoplifting?

I put TWO items in my purse (totaling $288.00), immediately realized it was a bad idea and in order to remove them from my possession unnoticed, I went to the dressing room. I intended to leave the items in the dressing room and then exit the store. Unfortunately, a member of the security team entered the dressing room just after I had removed the items from my bag. I didn’t want to take the items and I didn’t leave the store with them. I paid the store their requested monetary damages (which they said wasn’t an admission of guilt, and couldn’t be used against me). Thanks for your assistance.

Asked on May 11, 2009 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Although the issue is already settled between you and the store management, I would assume that you still have doubts whether all that what happened was proper. To answer your question, sufficient evidence is required to convict an offender. For retail theft (shoplifting) for example, several points must be established to substantiate the crime. Among these are: has the suspect been seen approaching and selecting the merchandise? Did the suspect take the merchandise off the shelf, conceal and carry it away without paying for it? Were there witnesses? Was the merchandise found in the possession of the suspect when apprehended outside the store? Comparing the above with your experience, you would be able to discern that some improprieties were committed.

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