Over the past decade self-checkouts at big box stores and grocery stores have gained popularity, eliminating the need for staffing as many cashiers and making it easier for those only buying a small amount of items to pay quickly. However, one small mistake could land you in criminal court.
If you forget to scan an item, or an item does not scan properly, many loss prevention officers or register attendants will be forgiving and allow you to fix the mistake. However, some will immediately call the police to have you cited for shoplifting/concealing goods. This often occurs when a shopper loads a bag of dog food or other large item onto the bottom of their cart, forgets it is there, and gets to first set of doors in the store before they are stopped by a loss prevention officer. Sadly, this has become all too common in central North Carolina stores. Elderly men and women who simply forgot to scan an item have been cited for shoplifting and forced to endure the court system. Some loss prevention officers are not at all sympathetic.
The remedy for a shoplifting charge can often be time-consuming and expensive: if it is your first offense, be prepared to do 75 hours to earn a dismissal. If you have previous charges or convictions, the assistant district attorneys in Wake or Durham County may not allow you to do community service for a dismissal.
Of course, you also have the option of a trial. However, you should not try a case without the assistance of an experienced attorney — a conviction could lead to fines or jail time based on your past record. Contact the experienced criminal law attorneys at Guirguis Law at (919) 832-0500 for a free consultation of your misdemeanor shoplifting charge and more information on how we can help you fight your case.