You’re walking around the store, looking for a few small items you need, when you see a pair of sunglasses that you like. To try them on, you slip the other items in your pocket for a second and pick up the glasses.
When you do it, a security guard at the store comes up to you and says that you need to wait with them for the police. They say you were trying to steal the items in your pocket. Can they actually accuse you of something like this?
They may claim you had intent to steal
Most of the time, shoplifting happens when someone tries to sneak an item out of the store entirely. They may be caught by a sensor or by someone who sees them do it.
You may contest that you never tried to leave. It was just an accident. You were going to pay for the items. But the store owner and the guard may still claim that you had intent to steal, which may be enough for you to face charges. They’ll say you would have tried to get out of the store if they let you get that far, but your intent was there all along.
You know it was just a mistake. You wish you’d never done it. But they do not agree, and the police are called.
If this happens, remember that accusations do not guarantee a conviction. They say you had the intent to shoplift and you know that you didn’t. Can they prove that you did? You absolutely have the right to a fair trial.