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Accidental shoplifting Shoplifting, Larceny, Robbery, Theft

Discussion in 'Criminal Charges' started by Jcw7727, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. Jcw7727

    Jcw7727 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    US Federal Law
    I am a military spouse who was arrested at the Navy exchange for shoplifting because I accidentally left a $3 item in my baby’s stroller when I checked out. I paid for $40 worth of items and then was stopped in the parking lot by loss prevention. I was arrested and taken the police station on base and given a citation for $250. They have video of me in the store and seemed to imply that it proves my guilt, but I never attempted to conceal the item or anything like that. All the video will show is me putting the item in the bottom of the stroller along with all the other items I purchased, and then not pulling it out at the register. I plan to go to court and fight this because I have a clean record and I don’t want something like this coming up in the future. My question is how I can have the best chance of beating this and also if for some reason they find me guilty can they make the penalty worse than it already is?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    There is only one chance. Hire a lawyer and don't talk to anybody else but the lawyer. You are being prosecuted for a crime. Take it seriously.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Speak with an attorney about arguing your lack of intent to steal. Your intent will have to be proven in order to convict you. More often the accused is pressured into paying fines instead of actassert their innocence and defending against the allegation.
    There are certain actions which would imply intent, such as concealing the item, but you haven't described anything like that here.
    I suggest you avoid using your stroller as a shopping cart (your stroller accident is a common story). Do not try and defend this on your own.
     
    Tpatzo2015 likes this.
  4. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    I am a Retail Theft consultant and answer questions like yours daily. I agree intent MUST be proven however its not always that easy. The cost to fight this WILL exceed any court fines. It sup to you but most shoplifters make same statement you did. Granted your telling the truth but the countless others who didnt dont help you.
     
    Tpatzo2015 likes this.
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    In what state is the Navy exchange located?
     
  6. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    If you fight case and lose Judge can give you max sentence (whatever that is). By that time a plea deal will likely be too late. Give everything careful consideration
     
  7. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    The state is largely immaterial as the exchanges will pursue this in US District Court, typically a violation of 18 USC 614. That's presuming that the poster is a civilian.
     
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    There is no 18 USC § 614. And the state may indeed matter since the shoplifter can be charged using the state shoplifting statutes, which federal law provides for.

    If you meant 18 USC § 641, that is a federal felony offense and not something the government is going to charge in a $3 shoplifting case from a military exchange.
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    18 USC 641. Sorry, transposed the digits while typing.
    While they could be prosecuted under state law, I'm betting not.
     
  10. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    In my experience that is exactly what the government does. The prosecution still occurs in federal court, but the state law is applied. Charging § 641 for shoplifting is overkill. I've never seen the DOJ charge that for shoplifting on a base. Have you actually seen that done? If so, that prosecutor should be ashamed of going for a felony charge with a max possible sentence of 10 years in prison for something so minor.
     
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    Yes, and specifically I've seen the Navy Exchanges do this. The Navy has a thing against shoplifters these days. It was apparently cutting into their bottom line pretty substantially.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    We all know how this works... Initial charge is high, end result is low.
    If convicted, this is not sunbsomet that will have jail time.
    With the information given it sounds weak and might not even go the distance.
     

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