September 28, 2023
Shoplifting is a crime that has been occurring since people started selling things. There are many examples of how shoplifting can occur, including taking goods from a retail store, walking out of a restaurant, or using a service without paying for it.
Unfortunately, due to increased loss prevention tactics within Colorado to preserve profit, it can be very easy to be mistaken or falsely accused as a shoplifter. Nobody likes to be accused of doing something that they didn’t do, and being charged with shoplifting can stress you out and leave you with a sinking feeling in your stomach.
Worse, the penalties in Colorado are severe, and can include prison time and large fines. If you or your loved one have been falsely accused of shoplifting, it is important that you understandyour rights.
You Don’t Have to Talk
The first thing you need to be aware of if this happens to you or a loved one is that, in Colorado, you have the right to remain silent. This means that staff members or security personnel cannot force you to answer any questions about the alleged offense.
We recommend that you do not answer any questions about the accusation until you have a lawyer present. He or she will be able to advise you and make sure that you do not say anything that can be used against you.
Staff or Security Officers Have No Right to Search You
If you are accused of shoplifting an item, you need to be aware that security officers have no right to force you into an involuntary search. If they forcefully search you or your property (such as a backpack), they are committing a criminal assault.
Since you do not have to agree to a search, it will be in your best interest to refuse this request if asked by staff or security officers. This is also the case if you are asked to sign any statements, or if you have your voice recorded by anyone who is not a police officer.
There Has to Be Evidence to Detain You
As stated in the Colorado Revised Statutes, only if there is direct evidence or if someone observes you shoplifting goods or services are you allowed to be legally detained. This evidence could come in the form of CCTV footage, or through observations made by staff and customers, such as directly seeing you taking an item or receiving service and leaving towards an exit without paying.
If you are falsely accused of shoplifting, you can also demand to have the witness of the alleged act questioned by the police or your legal representation. This tactic can be helpful if you know that alleged witness is unreliable or not telling the whole truth.
Knowing Your “Shopper’s Rights” in Colorado Give You Power
Don’t feel threatened by false shoplifting accusations.
Being prepared and knowing what to expect if you are falsely accused of shoplifting will help you remain calm in this otherwise stressful situation. Remember your rights, don’t agree to any searches, and know that you cannot be detained unless there is evidence of you committing the crime.
Remember our tips and you should be free to get on with your day in no time. If an arrest and charges do result, know that you don’t have to take them lying down – fight back.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.