It should come as no surprise that America's number one retailer is also one of the top enforcers of shoplifting laws. Wal-Mart uses loss prevention employees who work in stores around the clock and who wear plainclothes or monitor the store surveillance system.
If you are suspected of shoplifting by Wal-Mart you may be stopped in the store and arrested by their loss prevention or other employees. You may be asked to wait for the police in non-public part of the store. Usually Wal-Mart will immediately contact the local police to have you arrested and transported to the local jail.
Anyone facing this type of charge faces serious risks. These include not only the possibility of a jail sentence, but also a publicly available criminal record. Pursuant to S.C. Code § 16-13-110 you can be arrested for shoplifting at Wal-Mart if you:
- Conceal merchandise while you are still in the store (you don't have to leave the store)
- Change price tags (you don't have to try to checkout first)
- Use any merchandise while in the store (an example would be applying makeup)
- Take merchandise out of the store (whether concealed or not)
If your case involves less than $2,000 worth of merchandise you face a maximum fine of over $2,000 and/or thirty days in jail. If your case involves more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, it is a fine of over $2,000 and/or up to five years in prison. If your case involves over $10,000 worth of merchandise you are facing up to ten years in prison. Cases involving thousands of dollars in merchandise frequently involve people pushing buggy loads of expensive items out the front door, or taking entire cases of merchandise out of the storeroom.
There are several options that may be available to help you resolve your case. Examples of potential outcomes include:
- Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) which will result in a dismissal of your charge
- Fighting your charge in Court with a fully comprehensive trial
- Negotiated resolutions (plea bargains) that help you avoid maximum fines or jail time
We have helped a variety people challenge false shoplifting arrests, or to obtain a deserved second chance. If you or a loved one is facing any Wal-Mart shoplifting charge contact the defense attorneys at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, today. There is no charge for your initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Contact us at (803) 359-3301. Wal-Mart and other shoplifting cases are accepted statewide, including Lexington, Columbia, Greenville and Charleston.