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I was arrested for shoplifting without even taking anything from the store. Is this possible?

Dawsonville, GA |

At Walmart I had some dvds in a cart that were covered up by a shirt. I left the cart in the store and exited. In the parking lot some big plain-clothed guy came up to me and said we need to talk and I said "What are you talking about?" He said "We need to talk about those dvds". I told him I didn't have time for whatever he was saying and proceeded to try and walk around him which caused him to grab my arm. I asked what the hell did he think he was doing and he pulled me closer to him at which point I reached into my pocket and pepper sprayed him. He jumped on top of me and when the cops showed up I was bleeding from both knees and my foot and my neck is messed up. I was charged with theft by shoplifting and battery. Do I have any defense for the criminal part and a lawsuit for the injury

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Yes as to both questions. Retail stores are notorious for making false arrests in shoplifting cases and bullying people to admit crimes they didn't commit.
    Let me know if you have any additional questions.


  2. Yes, if you didn't take anything then you were not shoplifting and if they falsely arrested you there are grounds to sue.


  3. The magic words are "past all points of purchase." If you took products beyond the checkout counters, then they consider that shoplifting. It is common for people to get cold feet at the last minute or to leave the items near the door and then return (or send someone back) to retrieve them. But if you abandoned the items BEFORE passing the checkout counter and got tackled in the parking lot anyway, then I agree that you may have a pretty good case.

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  4. Yes. I've dealt with similar cases. People at major retail locations can be overly reactionary, but a claim still exists for your personal injury under Georgia law, and you have many defenses to any charges. Call my office. 478.227.3879

    Answering questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered into a written contract, signed by me, wherein I expressly assent to be your attorney. Nothing I post should be construed as legal advice to be acted upon, it is merely a legal opinion.


  5. Based on the facts as you have presented them in your question I would say - "Yes" to both of your questions. If you didn't take the items past the checkout/cash registers you would have a viable defense to the shoplifting charge. Many times the store security personnel are over aggressive and try to intimidate people into admitting to actions that they didn't do. Additionally, you appear to have a personal injury claim against the individual that assaulted you, as well as the store. I would recommend that you move quickly to retain a qualified and experienced attorney to defend you and to address the personal injury issue. Finally, an important part of your defense and personal injury claim will be the store security video - make sure that your attorney(s) move quickly to secure it. Good Luck with your cases!!!
    George McCranie www.mccranielawfirm.com

    The information provided in this response to a question is not legal advise and is provided only for general information purposes. My response should not be taken as legal advise as no attorney / client representation exists. Additionally, the information given in this answer is specific to the State of Georgia only and should not be applied to any other state.

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