Shoplifting is a crime that many people do not completely understand. Some people feel that to commit this offense, they must steal an item without making any payment, but that is not completely true.
Louisiana law sets some specific guidelines for determining if an incident is shoplifting. And these rules may be surprising to many people.
To be shoplifting, the situation must take place in a retail location. It can be anywhere someone is selling something. The person must intend to take the item and deprive the merchant of a profit.
Intent is an important part of shoplifting. A person must intend to take the item. They must conceal it in some way or otherwise alter it. For example, exchanging or removing the price tag on an item is still shoplifting because it is the intention to deprive the merchant of profit. Changing packaging is another example. Shoplifting also includes doing anything when checking out that could alter the amount due, such as scanning the wrong items or not scanning an item.
If a person is in a situation where they stand accused of shoplifting, it is essential that understand the law. Trying to diminish what happened by saying they only changed the price, for example, would not lessen the charges against them. They have to prove they had no intent to keep the merchant from receiving full payment for the product.
Shoplifting may seem like a petty crime. However, the punishment depends on the total monetary value of items taken from the retailer, which, in some cases, could result in a prison sentence.