If it is in fact true that they dot have any evidence against you (which may or may not be the case), then no, they should not even be able to charge you. The document that would be used to charge you with a crime has to contain certain information explaining to you what the offense is that you're being charged with so that you're able to put on a defense. Two of the items that must be listed in a charging document for a theft case are what property it is they're alleging you stole, and how much the stolen merchandise was worth. It doesn't have to be very specific on either count ("clothing" and "$50 or more, but less than $500" would be sufficient), but those are required items. Under these circumstances, I don't see how they can do that if it's true that there really is no evidence that you actually stole anything at all--they've got to have something to put in that blank. On top of that, there's the ibvious point that those door sensors are not foolproof, and do go off sometimes either for paid merchandise ir for no apparent reason at all, and people walk through them and ignore them all the time. Running to your car would tend to indicate what's called "consciousness of guilt", but that in and of itself is not proof that you atoll anything. I would, however, suggest that you contact a local defense attorney, who will be able to look into the situation and determine whether you actually have anything to worry about or not.
Given the facts that you describe, you certainly can be arrested. Setting off the alarms and then running away is very suspicious behavior. Having said that, for you to be convicted of anything, there must actually be a crime committed. If the store or the prosecutors cannot identify anything stolen, or its value, you will not be convicted. They have to show an actual theft. Usually, in these circumstances, the police will have talked to the people in the store and reviewed surveillance video to determine if anything was taken before going out to your house to arrest you. I strongly suggest that you contact an attorney immediately.
You are probably ok as far as criminal charges go unless you give them more by talking to them. Keep your mouth shut. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO THE POLCE- NOTHING. Do not admit you were even there. Do not admit to driving the car. Just don't talk to them. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER ANY OF THEIR QUESTIONS. Then talk to a lawyer and get specific advice from there.
No talking to the police. No going to that store again. No allowing searches, even if you have nothing to hide! See the links below about talking to police. Watch the videos.
If any answer on AVVO helps you, mine or someone else’s, please mark it as "helpful" or "best answer" to help AVVO know which answers to show others.
--- Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin
--- Facebook Page
--- Talking to the Police - Advice from Lawyers and Police
--- Miranda Rights (and Wrongs)
Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum.
I am an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you.
If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.
Most questions are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Few, if any, legal matters should be handled via Internet communication. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.
This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only.
Click on the “more” link below for more important information about this answer and AVVO.
Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. Click on the "More..." link for IMPORTANT INFORMATION about this AVVO Answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I am an experienced Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.