The Truth about Shoplifting Consequences
Shoplifting is a bad decision because shoplifting consequences can be tough and affect the rest of your life. In the United States, shoplifting is a crime that is considered to be a misdemeanor if the total value of the items is $500 or less and a possible felony if the total worth is $500 or above.
Shoplifting is defined as stealing merchandise from a retail store. Shoplifting is a much bigger problem than most people might think. In the United States, it is estimated that over sixteen billion dollars a year is lost by merchants as a result of shoplifting. The most illuminating statistic is that for new businesses, one in three fails because of the monetary effect of shoplifting. Each year the average American family spends $300 to make up for the financial effects of shoplifting. This money is the amount in price increases that are made to offset shoplifting.
Statistics also indicate that 90% of the U.S. population has shoplifted at least one item in their lives. With shoplifting, the store has the permission of the law to arrest anyone who has probable cause of shoplifting. This means that a store employee must have direct knowledge that the alleged shoplifter took an item, concealed it, and did not attempt to pay before leaving the store.
The shoplifter must either leave the store to the outside or pass into an area that is beyond the cash registers and checkout lines. The two groups of people most arrested for shoplifting are juveniles and senior citizens. For many people, not getting caught gives them more confidence to try it again. After they have successfully stolen a number of times, the typical shoplifter gets to the point where they believe there will never be any shoplifting consequences because they will never get caught.
The truth is that you can get caught shoplifting the first time and that people who shoplift repeatedly do eventually get caught. The penalties for shoplifting can have negative effects for the rest of your life. If it is the very first offense and you are a teenager, you may be able to get into a diversion program, where if you make restitution and do community service, the arrest may be expunged from your record.
A shoplifter does get a criminal record, and this is one of the most serious shoplifting consequences. People with a criminal record go into a national database. This database can be accessed by police, employers, landlords, state and federal agencies, and it can make it harder to get a job and to do many other things people take for granted.
If the item is worth a large amount of money, over $500, or you have been convicted previously of shoplifting, you can be charged and convicted of a felony, which has even more serious shoplifting consequences. Your DNA will be entered in the national database and you may be restricted from traveling to other states and countries.
Not only that, being arrested and convicted of a crime affects how you think about yourself and how other people think of you. Stealing is considered by most to be a moral problem. People can lose their respect for you and many times you can even lose friends, even best friends, who feel that you no longer have the same values that they do.
If you have considered shoplifting, think about all of the shoplifting consequences before you do it. Being arrested and convicted of this crime can give you serious problems in some areas for the rest of your life.