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LegalEagle1
LegalEagle1, Attorney
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Can I be charged with shoplifting for refusing to let an employee

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Can I be charged with shoplifting for refusing to let an employee search my bag as I was leaving? For the record I did not take anything... I took three items to the fitting room, tried them on, and left them hanging in the room. The store does have cameras, and it will show me browsing, going to fitting room and then leaving. I was in a rush to leave because I had a family emergency to get to and was annoyed that they were making a scene when I did nothing wrong. They wrote down my tag as I left. So can a warrant be issued just because employees of a store thought I might be shoplifting
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalEagle1 replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. I would like to assist you with you question today.

Has anyone contact you since you the store? When did this occur?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


This happened a few hours ago and no they have not. However, the first thing I did when I entered the store was return an item, in which I gave them my drivers license in order to do. They also wrote down my tag number as I drove away. I have no idea why would have thought I was stealing. The only reason I can think of is because I brought 2 items to be returned into the store in a bag... they only would return one of the items and were very rude about doing that. so I kept the 2nd item in the bag with me, then went to try on those few items I mentioned. I would have been glad to leave the bag up front if I would have known I needed to do so.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I just sent you a response to your question but not sure if it went through... did you receive it?

Expert:  LegalEagle1 replied 1 year ago.
Yes I did. I am in the process of drafting your answer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Okay... thank you

Expert:  LegalEagle1 replied 1 year ago.
First off let me post for you Alabama;'s statute that defines theft so you can see what must be proven if charges were to be filed.


§13A-8-2. Theft of property - Definition.

A person commits the crime of theft of property if he or she:

(1) Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property;

(2) Knowingly obtains by deception control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property;

(3) Knowingly obtains or exerts control over property in custody of a law enforcement agency which was explicitly represented to the person by an agent of the law enforcement agency as being stolen.

To answer your question. Yes they can be charged with theft. However not for refusing to stop or allow you bag or person to be search. The charge would have to be based upon an allegation that you "knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property." The prosecutor will have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. So while the police may permit charges to be filed, obtaining a conviction will be a much more difficult task. It will come down to what the video shows, what the store employees testify they observed and any other testimony and evidence the prosecutor or you present at trial.

Charging someone with a crime does not always result in a conviction.

I hope that I have answered your question. Please let me know if you have more questions or need more information.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information. Just to follow up


1) Is my only option to just sit & wait? Or better yet, how will I know if they decided to file charges (i.e. will a police officer come to my house or should I call someone)


2) how likely is it that a store would file charges just because I wouldn't let them search me so they therefore assume I took something?


Thank you


 

Expert:  LegalEagle1 replied 1 year ago.

1) Is my only option to just sit & wait? Or better yet, how will I know if they decided to file charges (i.e. will a police officer come to my house or should I call someone)

 

If they file a complaint the police will most likely contact you and possibly arrest you. You can also check at the local court house in a few days to see if any cases have been filed in which you are named a defendant.


2) how likely is it that a store would file charges just because I wouldn't let them search me so they therefore assume I took something?

 

I have no way to predict this. It will be up to the store and the police to decide if they will authorize a charge. Only time will tell.

 

I hope that I have answered your question. Please let me know if you have more questions or need more information.

_________________________________________________________________
Please rate my answers with a positive rating (three or more stars) as this is the only way I receive credit and compensation for my work. If you have additional questions or need more information, please ask.

My goal is to provide with best assistance that I can. Please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also keep in mind that the law may not always be settled or may not support the position you want. My role is not to tell you what you want to hear. but to provide you accurate information as to what the law provides. Please do not rate me poorly just because the information I have provided does not support the outcome you desire.

You can always request me through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-legaleagle1 also begin your question with “For LegalEagle1”
_________________________________________________________________
Use of this service does not create any attorney client relationship. Information provided is intended to explain general legal principles and assist you in finding an attorney in your area.

Please click "Great" or better to rate service.

LegalEagle1, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 748
Experience: Practicing attorney licensed for over 23 years.
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