When you see something at the store that you want, you might start to plan to get it. For some people, the temptation is too much and they resort to illegal means to get the items. Shoplifting is a serious crime that many people don’t take as seriously as they should.

It is important to remember that you don’t have to take the items out of the store to be charged with shoplifting. People who change the tags on the merchandise, including swapping barcodes or packaging, can also face this charge.

In the broadest sense, shoplifting means taking steps to deprive the store owner of their full monetary compensation for the items you are in possession of. This is why even changing barcodes is illegal. The owner isn’t getting what they are asking for.

Another point to remember about shoplifting is that your actions have to be intentional. You can’t accidentally shoplift. This is often determined by the actions you are taking with the merchandise. One thing that you might not realize is that trying to conceal items, even if they are in the cart, can be construed as willful. For example, if you place a pack of ribeye steaks in a cooler that you are purchasing. Store management might claim that you didn’t intend on paying for the steaks since they were concealed in the cooler.

When you are facing shoplifting charges, you need to take them very seriously. Explore your defense options and remember that a shoplifting conviction can have an impact on your ability to find work and housing in the future since many places won’t work with a person who has this on their record.