What happens to defendants who are accused of stealing from a retail store? If you have heard about a shoplifting defendant who was harmed during a "takedown" by a retail employee, you are not alone - but is that kind of treatment really legal? The fact is that too many New York business owners take matters into their own hands when they are dealing with shoplifters, often violating defendants' rights when it comes to property crimes prosecution.
Stories like that of a woman who was attacked and violently kicked by a store employee in North Carolina may contribute to this disturbing trend. In that March 2017 incident, the defendant was accused of stealing false eyelashes from a local store. Video shows that the store employee kicked the woman, threw her to the ground, and placed her in a headlock because he suspected her of stealing.
Defendants in criminal cases, including shoplifting and other property crimes, still deserve protection when it comes to arrest, search and seizure, and other legal processes. The fact that you have been suspected of a crime does not suspend the responsibility that law enforcement officers and others have to treat you legally and with respect. Violation of a defendant's legal rights can lead to problems for prosecutors in securing a theft charge conviction.
If you have been accused of property crimes, you are not automatically considered guilty, and no one has the right to physically accost you. You deserve equal protection under the law. The good news: A team of attorneys can promote your legal rights in court throughout your legal proceedings, providing you with the information you need to make the most educated choices for yourself and your future.
Source: 10 News, "Video of alleged shoplifting sparks controversy," Beau Zimmer, March 14, 2017