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Shoplifting charges often reveal additional issues

Shoplifting may not seem like a serious crime, but every offense involving theft is taken seriously by California courts. Because of this, it can be crucial that anyone facing theft or shoplifting charges also takes the situation seriously.

Shoplifting is a crime that often involves other offenses, which means that charges can stack up quickly. It can also reveal other issues that may be involved, which can make an arrest particularly troubling for the person arrested as well as his or her family. We examine a few of these issues below.

Drug or alcohol dependency

Stealing to support an addiction is not uncommon. People who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction might shoplift to resell or trade the items, or they might take things they need but cannot afford due to their addiction, like food or clothing. Because of this, charges of public intoxication or drug possession often accompany shoplifting charges.

Juvenile issues, including truancy

Young people are especially tempted to shoplift thanks to things like peer pressure and the inability to purchase certain items due to age or lack of funds. When a young person is caught shoplifting, he or she can also face other charges, like underage drinking, truancy and probation violations.

Certain mental disorders

Shoplifting can be an indication that someone is suffering from a mental issue that may have yet to be diagnosed. In other words, people accused of shoplifting may not be stealing because they need the items they are taking. Rather, they may be suffering from depression, anxiety, personality disorders and illnesses that affect a person's impulse control and understanding of right and wrong.

How these issues affect a case

These issues that stem from or are related to shoplifting can affect the possible defenses people might use when defending against the charges in court. Things like mental incapacity, age and other factors can lead to a reduction or dismissal of criminal charges. In order to explore these and other defenses to shoplifting offenses in California, it can be wise to consult an attorney.

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