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Is Shoplifting a Crime?


Shoplifting crimes are often impulse-control issues, rather than premeditated acts of crime. Those charged with shoplifting will sometimes talk about the crime more like an illness than a conscious decision to steal. They don’t see themselves as criminals and often immediately regret the behavior, but it went too far.

Shoplifting is on the rise, and all too often it becomes more noticeable during the holidays, when people are under more stress and pressure. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last 10 years. About 25 percent are juveniles.

The organization says 89 percent of kids say they know other juveniles or shoplift and 66 percent say they hang out with those children. Research shows that most shoplifters do not commit other crimes, and the association says a rehabilitation program should be “offense-specific” for this crime.

What does all this mean if you or your child has been arrested for shoplifting? Yes, it is a crime, but there are complex issues that lead to the act of shoplifting, all of which should be examined and considered in preparing a strong defense, or in pre-trial discussions with the prosecutor.

That’s where an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a difference. Don’t treat shoplifting lightly, and know that many professionals and organizations say the crime itself isn’t indicative of a broader trend of criminal acts or behavior. If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, be sure to speak with an experienced shoplifting defense attorney.

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