The holidays are here. It's time to start making your gift list. During this busy shopping season, stores will be on the lookout for shoplifters. That means they'll have increased store security, and will probably detain anyone they suspect of shoplifting. Unfortunately, that does mean that some people will be detained who have not done anything wrong. If you're going to be heading to the stores, it's important that you know how to protect yourself should you be detained for shoplifting. Here are three steps you should take if you're targeted by store security this year.
Remain Calm and Don't Run
Those security alarms on department store doors can be disconcerting, especially when they go off while you're the one leaving the store. It can be tempting to take off running. However, that's the worst thing you can do. If the security alarm goes off when you're leaving the store, or store security approaches and asks you to stop, remain calm. Most importantly, don't run. Stop where you are and allow store security to approach you. It will be much easier to get out of any possible charges if you've remained calm and cooperated with store security.
Don't Try to Explain Your Actions
Once you've been stopped by store security, they may ask you to accompany them to another room. At this point, they'll probably contact local law enforcement, who will show up to question you. Don't try to explain your actions. Remember that anything you say can, and will, be used against you if they decide to press charges. The best thing you can do is request an attorney. At that point, they'll have no choice but to stop questioning you.
Seek Legal Representation
The questioning may have stopped, but that doesn't mean you'll be in the clear. You may still be charged with shoplifting. If that's the case, you'll need to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Don't let the fact that it's a misdemeanor charge prevent you from hiring an attorney. You might not realize this, but a misdemeanor conviction can destroy your life. It can stop you from being hired for a job, prevent you from receiving public assistance, and can even prevent you from being approved for rental housing. If you've been charged with a misdemeanor, you're going to need an attorney.
Don't let the holidays be destroyed by a misdemeanor conviction. If you're detained by store security while you're doing your holiday shopping this year, use the tips provided here to protect your rights. Contact a lawyer firm, like Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC, for more help.