Stealing, or theft, is a common crime. For some, it's an act that starts when they're young. Shoplifting simple items may seem like it's of little consequence, but the reality is that it's still possible to face charges.
The good thing about theft charges is that there are many defenses against them. The prosecution has to show that you intended to take property from someone else without permission and did not intend to return it. If a theft could have been alleged because of a misunderstanding, then there is a good chance that it can be disputed and that you could walk away without penalties or a conviction.
The first thing to know about thefts is that every theft is situational. You may have forgotten that you were carrying something in your hands when you left the store, lost in your own thoughts. Perhaps you took something from the store and intended to pay for it, but you were in a rush because of an emergency. For instance, running into a pharmacy for an emergency kit when there is a crash with wounded people outside could create a situation where using a product first and paying second is almost expected.
The court will want to know the specifics of your case before making a decision. Certain defenses, like claiming a right to ownership or intoxication, may also help you lessen the penalties against you or get them dismissed altogether. Our site has more on what to do if you're accused of stealing or participating in a theft. There are ways to protect yourself.
Source: Moheb Legal Defense PLLC, "A Criminal Defense Lawyer You Can Trust," accessed April 17, 2018