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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13875
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I was just detained by an officer, for shoplifting. He said

Customer Question

I was just detained by an officer, for shoplifting. He said that an employee witnessed me taking a bottle of salad dressing and when confronted I ran off. The employee said I had on a white hat, plain gray sweat pants, and a black sweat shirt. When they pulled me over I had on gray sweat pants with a BIG logo down one leg, and a grey long sleeve and a green hat. They brought the employee over to where I was and they employee said I was the guy. The officer said I was lying and that he was going to charge me anyways. Is this grounds to charge me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your question. After reading my answer, if you require additional information, press "REPLY" and I will be happy to assist you further.


A police officer only needs probable cause to make an arrest, which is a much lower standard than what a prosecutor needs to obtain a conviction, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt (e..g, it is much more than likely that you are the person who committed the crime). Probable cause is just a "reasonable belief." So, if the officer reasonably believes that you shoplifted, they can arrest you.


However, a police offer isn't the one who actually decides to charge you. Yes, they can arrest you and book you on a charge, but it is actually the prosecutor's office who will review the file and determine if the arrest was reasonable and whether they feel they can obtain a conviction and what to charge you with, if anything. It may very well be that after reading the employee statement/talking to the employee and then reading the officer's statement, a prosecutor may decide to dismiss the matter.


Even if you are formally charged with theft, it sounds like you have have a good defense because a defense lawyer would go after them pretty strongly as to what they saw and then would raise the issue that the physical descriptions don't match.



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