No one ever wants to be in this situation, but it's happened before: Someone goes shopping with a friend who shoplifts and uses the first person as a cover or unwitting accomplice. Maybe the shoplifter snuck the item into the first person's bag, or maybe the shoplifter asked the first person to talk to a nearby staff member about something -- and then took advantage of the shift in attention. Whatever the background, it's possible for that first person to be charged as an accomplice. So what do you do if you're in that situation?
Lawyer Up -- Separately
You need a lawyer -- your own lawyer, not one shared with your so-called friend. Let's say you and your friend were in a store and you were lost in thought while comparing two products. Your friend grabbed some gum and slipped it into the tote bag you were carrying without your knowledge or permission. The security guard saw it and apprehended both of you; the police decided to charge both of you with shoplifting.
Do not attempt to argue your own way out of a charge. You need a lawyer to handle this because the initial situation -- the crime that was witnessed -- did appear to involve you as one of the perpetrators. As a result, you need to put together a case that is airtight, and that's not something you can do yourself.
Your next step (and the lawyer can help you with this) is to get security video to see what really happened. Was your friend shoplifting and putting things into his own bag and then suddenly dropped something into yours when another person walked by? That could indicate that you were only a convenient shield and not actively involved. But your lawyer will help you gather evidence.
Your Friend and the Truth
This person is not really your friend if he or she is going to drag you into a shoplifting case. But he or she is still the one who can clear you. You need to talk to the lawyer about how to get your friend to clear you without looking like you're trying to coerce the person. While shoplifting might not seem like a serious crime, it's an embarrassing one that you don't want on your record.
Let a good criminal law attorney help you get through this case. It's a confusing and upsetting one, but you can straighten it out with the right representation.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.