Walmart Shoplifting: Laws & Penalties in Louisiana
Shoplifting at Walmart is one of the worst situations anyone can get into. A lot of people go into Walmart stores to steal daily, forgetting that Walmart is smart about catching shoplifters. Walmart stores are especially targeted by shoplifters because of the size, but it’s a completely bad idea. Shoplifting at Walmart is never a smart move because you will most likely get caught. Even if all you stole was a grill or candy, you will most likely be caught by a loss protection agent or surveillance camera.
Walmart operates a self-checkout to help the customers get out of lines faster. The self-checkout has been up and running successfully for a long time, and has been a major way for people to get out of the store faster. The checkout lanes run for as long as Walmart is open- 24 hours, but, sadly, people have continuously abused the system.
Walmart checkout is abused every other day by people who think they can get away with shoplifting at Walmart. They do this by not scanning all the items they took from the shelves, but go ahead to keep them in the bag. These people forget that Walmart is proactive about preventing theft from their stores.
People get arrested all the time for Walmart shoplifting in Louisiana, therefore there are lots of these cases in court daily. Once Walmart catches you for shoplifting in their store, they arrest you and press charges against you. When you have a Walmart shoplifting case, do not think you will only get a slap on the wrist. It is a big case because Walmart has the policy to press charges.
There are cases of people who stole from Walmart and thought they got away with it but were later ratted out by surveillance cameras. And of course, arrested and made to face prosecution. Walmart shoplifting cases have never been less than serious. When you have a Walmart case, you better get a shoplifting lawyer immediately. No Walmart shoplifting case has ever been easy without a defense attorney.
The drilling, draining, embarrassment, and ill-feeling that comes with a Walmart shoplifting charge can break anyone. When you have a Walmart shoplifting charge, it is imperative to contact a shoplifting lawyer in Louisiana. To reiterate, no Walmart shoplifting case has ever been easy without a shoplifting lawyer, therefore you need to hire a competent one as soon as you get served a shoplifting ticket.
What Does Shoplifting Mean?
Shoplifting is the act of stealing goods/items from a store while acting as a customer. Going into a store to steal while pretending to be a customer is shoplifting. It is an illegal act that is either punished as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the dollar worth of the items taken.
Taking or concealing an item in Walmart without the intent to pay is shoplifting and can land you in a court case. Concealing items also pass for shoplifting. If you pick an item from the store shelf and hide it, you can be charged for shoplifting. It can also be defined as the act of stripping a store ownership of an item that is offered for sale. Merchandise in stores is to be paid for. If you make way with merchandise from a store without paying, you can be charged for shoplifting.
The following are examples of shoplifting:
• Moving an item: you can be apprehended for shoplifting if you move an item meant for sale from one place in the store to another place within the store. You don’t have to go out with the item before you are apprehended for shoplifting. For example, if you open a bottle of wine to drink and keep the bottle somewhere in the store or eat grills from a shelf in the store, there may not have been physical evidence on you, but the surveillance camera can show how you perpetrated the act.
• Altering price tags: this could be in the form of switching, removing or changing the price tag on an item in a bid to underpay for the good. In this case, you don’t have to make it out through the front door before you can be apprehended by the LP agent of the store. If you alter the price tag on an item on purpose, you can be charged for shoplifting
• Transferring items: if you transfer an item that is meant for sale into another container or package, you won’t make it to the front door before you are charged for shoplifting.
• Intent to shoplift: intent may be difficult to prove and it forms a strong basis of an argument for defense against a shoplifting charge.
Stealing From Walmart
People give many different reasons for stealing from Walmart, but there is never a good reason to steal since it is illegal. A major rationalization used by shoplifters is that Walmart is a big chain and would probably never know if anyone stole something. Shoplifters claim Walmart makes sales enough that the company won’t be hurt by the loss of whatever they shoplift. However, this doesn’t make shoplifting legal in any sense.
Walmart records millions of losses from shoplifting every year. The fact that it is a big chain makes its shoplifting loss a huge one, and this is why Walmart is taking no chances with shoplifters. They have surveillance cameras working 24/7 to pick shoplifters from the stores. All kinds of people steal an endless list of things from Walmart, some main categories are;
• Stealing of low-cost items, with pregnancy test kits being the most commonly targeted; They use them in the bathroom and discard.
• Some others took items from the store only to return them later for cash refunds. These items were usually costly.
• There is also a category of people who belonged to a ring. They would take an item and someone else return it for a refund, while some have theirs sold to other stores.
Anyone caught stealing from Walmart would have serious consequences to bear. Walmart has a policy and they follow it to the dot. An offender may be incarcerated for a few days, weeks, months, or even years, depending on the value of the item stolen and the criminal history of the offender. In all, it is imperative that you get a skilled defense lawyer in Louisiana. There is no black and white in law. There are grey pieces of evidence that can be used as a defense for you. Therefore, if you are apprehended for stealing from Walmart, ensure to talk to a competent and experienced defense attorney like Carl Barkemeyer.
Walmart theft involves stealing merchandise from Walmart stores. This is an act of larceny and is treated as such in Louisiana. You can be charged for Walmart theft if you take merchandise without permission, and with the intent to deprive. Usually, there are surveillance clips or records put forward as evidence against the offender in Walmart theft cases. Elements of theft that must be proven in the proceeding of the case include intentionally concealing an item offered for sale and the “intent to the deprive” the store of the item taken without paying.
If you are caught shoplifting at Walmart, the Loss Prevention agents approach you when leaving the store. However, they have no right to lay hands on you or they lose their merchant right. The big US chains have policies in place to prevent the Loss Prevention agents of any store from laying hands on you, chasing you (in case you run) or stopping you from going after leaving the store (they should rather call the police). These policies were created for the safety of everyone, both the employee and customers and most definitely, a guise to avoid lawsuits should violence happen in the course of apprehension. If you choose to run upon apprehension, Walmart notifies the police and get you arrested.
It is important to know that you can break shoplifting/theft law even without attempting to take stolen goods out of the store. Simply concealing items from Walmart, whether inside or outside will be enough to charge you for theft. This involves cases of drinking a bottle of wine, eating candy or cookies, taking a pregnancy test kit into the bathroom to use, etc. Any of these cases and others will often be enough to attract a Walmart theft charge.
In addition to concealing or possessing an item without the intent to pay, it is also illegal to take actions to avoid paying the full price for an item. This is often called under-ringing. It involves altering the price tag on an item, manipulating merchandise, or putting items in different packaging to pay less than the purchase price.
Some people steal from Walmart without being caught but were eventually arrested. This is possible in Walmart stores and it happens often. If an inventory or something distinctive is missing, Walmart reviews the surveillance footage and finds the clip of how the theft occurred. They inform the necessary authorities and eventually get to you. When this happens, you must be quick to get a shoplifting lawyer with experience in Walmart theft. This is the only way to make a difference in your case.
Banned From Walmart
Walmart has a minimum tolerance for shoplifters. You can be banned from Walmart if you are caught stealing or concealing their merchandise. Sometimes, Walmart bans people for as short as 24 hours while other times, they could ban you for life.
In the real sense, being banned from Walmart doesn’t mean you cannot shop in a Walmart store again. Walmart as a universal company is a big chain with branches all over the US, so you can easily walk into another branch without being recognized. But, the consequences of disobeying the ban is that you may get into a whole lot of trouble if you ever shoplift from there again. You may, however, get in trouble if someone from the Walmart store you stole from recognizes you, which is most likely impossible. Thousands of people visit Walmart every day, with a good number of shoplifting cases per day, so it would be hard for them to keep track of faces.
People get banned from Walmart if they are found guilty of stealing. So, when you get banned, they want you to keep away from their stores, which is most like unreal because it’s a universal store. But for your good, never get caught for stealing from Walmart again. If you get caught again, you can’t lie it’s your first time. Meanwhile, it will cost you a greater charge than the first time. Most likely, two charges- trespassing and shoplifting, which may attract a felony penalty.
Therefore, you have to worry about going into Walmart after you’ve been banned. If the Loss Prevention agents recognize you, they can have you arrested.
Will The Police Find You If Caught Shoplifting On Camera?
If you choose to shoplift from Walmart, you should as well prepare your mind that there must be consequences to bear. Such consequences include the police catching up with you. Since Walmart has proof of every shoplifting case, if they see you taking the item and identify you on the video and somehow get to know your name, the police will find you and Walmart will charge you for the crime committed.
Walmart calls and reports the incident to the police, providing surveillance evidence. The shoplifter is identified and the police come down to your house. Basically, the evidence from Walmart leads the police down to your doorstep.
After the case is reported, the police issues you a citation stating your offense, a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the item taken. The citation states your offense alongside the date you need to present yourself for hearing. So, even if you successfully leave Walmart after shoplifting, the police still find you.
How Does Walmart Catch Shoplifters?
Walmart is a big brand that has recorded a huge amount of losses from shoplifting in the past years, so you’d expect them to go big on catching shoplifters. Walmart is one of the worst places anyone can choose to steal. They will catch you sooner or later, if not immediately. They have pretty advanced tech considering that they record millions of influx and checkouts worldwide every day.
See here for the Walmart shoplifting policies 2024.
In addition to high tech, Walmart stores have Loss Prevention Agents that walk around the store in regular clothing. They dress just like you, so it’s pretty difficult for you to know who they are. The next person walking by your side at a Walmart store may be an LPA who is ready to apprehend and bear witness against you shoplifting.
• Spider wrap: Walmart makes use of spider wrap that helps to detect theft. Spider wrap is a wired alarm attached to the merchandise. The alarm goes off once the wire is caught and every attention is focused on the shoplifter. That would be a red-handed catch. Merchandise like TV and laptop are mostly spider wrapped in Walmart stores.
• Extensive CCTV: Walmart uses extensive CCTV to monitor activities in their stores. These CCTV monitor main aisles, high theft aisles, fire exits, registers, and all doors in the stores. Some of these cameras move around and can zoom. With this, they can monitor and review activities going on in the store clearly.
• AP customer host: AP means Asset Protection. The asset protection customer host at Walmart has a role similar to a Greeter’s, but they do more than greet and welcome the customers. They check receipts, especially for items that aren’t bagged, help with returns… They can detect if you have merchandise that you haven’t paid for. Since they are one of the points of contact at Walmart, they can catch shoplifters.
• The EAS system: these are pedestal alarms that go off when you have merchandise with spider wrap or security slip inside. When your merchandise is no cleared, the alarm goes off and attention is directed to you as a shoplifter.
• Aggressive customer service: the customer service associates approach you multiple times when they see any suspicious activity and ask if they can help you in any way. They report issues to the Loss Prevention agents.
These methods by Walmart are effective and have been major ways in which the company catches shoplifters. Activities may seem normal in the store, but don’t be misled because there are people who are actively looking to catch shoplifters alongside the surveillance camera.
Shoplifting At Walmart
Shoplifters have some more advantages in a shoplifting case because real evidence has to be put up against them. Some reasons why shoplifters have more advantages include;
• Shoplifters are unidentified until they conceal or steal an item.
• Shoplifters may use many methods to get merchandise out of a store, thereby, making the case confusing for the Loss Prevention agency.
• The shoplifter is always careful as they have a rule of “Don’t get caught “, which may, however, be hard when dealing with Walmart.
Shoplifters may have no guidelines, but the LP has guidelines they must adhere to when dealing with shoplifters. These rules exist as a smokescreen to avoid restrictions on store personnel and to ensure a valid case when stopping a shoplifter. Before going ahead to apprehend, the LP must see the shoplifter take the merchandise to be sure it belongs to the store. Apprehension shouldn’t be based on assumptions.
Also, the LP must see the shoplifter conceal the item in their purse, pocket, coat, handbag, or backpack. The LP agent must be able to say precisely what they saw. For instance, he should be able to say something like “The woman took a DVD from the shelf over there and placed it in her handbag.“
The LP must obey the rule of observation. He must observe and be sure that the shoplifter took the merchandise. Some shoplifters get nervous and end up dropping the item because they know Walmart is good with catching shoplifters. To avoid false accusations, LP must observe keenly and be sure the merchandise was concealed. If an LP stops a suspected shoplifter, but nothing is found on them, they cannot make a case out of it and they can be sued for wrongful detainment. Lots of mistakes happen at this point.
The rule of exit is equally important in shoplifting cases. Leaving the store with an item proves that the shoplifter has no intention to pay for the item and is, therefore, guilty of shoplifting. If an LP were to stop a suspected shoplifter before they get to the cash register, the suspects could say they were going to the cash register to pay for the item. This applies to concealed items as well. They could say they were just on the way to the cash register to pay.
Regarding apprehension, the LP cannot apprehend a shoplifter for stealing until they are out of the store. If the shoplifter is outside, it means they passed the cash register without paying for the item. Shoplifting stops are made far from happy shoppers as it’s usually an ugly experience that no store wants to put out there. The LP can stop the shoplifter, but cannot lay hands on them. If the shoplifter attempts to run, they do not have run after them. They only have to call the police and report the incident.
How To Get Shoplifting Charges Dropped
If you have a shoplifting case, you should try all possible means to get the case dropped because having a shoplifting charge on your criminal record can dent your image and make you bear civil consequences. However, you need to hire a shoplifting lawyer to get your theft case settled and get your shoplifting case closed.
Walmart may not press charges for items worth less than $25, but they won’t drop charges for items worth more than that. They have a strong policy against shoplifting so they won’t simply drop shoplifting charges without going to court. Your best bet to ensure the best possible outcome is to hire a defense attorney.
Most big retail stores like Walmart hardly drops shoplifting charges. They have a strict prosecution policy which makes them rigid to bending their rules. For Walmart, bending their shoplifting policy makes them appear weak, which would lead to more theft or shoplifting cases at their stores. Once they call the police, the turn the investigation over with evidence. Then the shoplifter gets a citation stating the charge and details of a court appearance.
At this point, an experienced defense attorney has to fight your case by negotiating a plea with the prosecutor, to get your charge lessened or dropped. Whatever it may be, the intervention of an experienced shoplifting lawyer will make a difference in your case.
The best thing to do when you have a Walmart shoplifting case is to talk to a competent attorney like Carl Barkemeyer. He will spring to action immediately by reaching out to the court prosecutor to begin negotiation. Even if to think you are not guilty of the charge, you need an attorney to raise defense and counter the charge put against you. Remember that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the shoplifting offense.
What Happens If You Get Caught Shoplifting?
If you are caught shoplifting, you are handed over to the police to carry out a further investigation for prosecution. Usually, the store employee where a shoplifting case happens waits until the shoplifter passes through the door before approaching them. This is to prove that they had the intent to steal.
How Walmart Proves Intent To Steal
So, if you go through the door without paying for a concealed item, the LP agent reasonably detains you by making you return to the store while they call the police. The LP approaches you and tells them who they are and why you are apprehended.
They detain you reasonably, without force, and advise you to surrender the merchandise that you took and concealed from the store. They do not search because they are not entitled to conduct searches. If the item stolen is worth less than $25, Walmart makes you drop the item with them without pressing charges, but if it’s worth more, they call the police to arrest you and they charge you.
Then The Police Get Involved
The police issue you a ticket that requires you to appear in court on a certain day. If you are charged for shoplifting at Walmart, you will need to hire an attorney. Your attorney may be able to make an appearance for you to keep you away from the court. Your Walmart shoplifting lawyer represents you and acts in your best interest to ensure the best possible outcome on your case.
Your Best Bet Is To Hire An Attorney
Your best bet is to hire a skilled attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. Your lawyer looks over the evidence Walmart has presented against you. From police reports to video and any evidence, the prosecution may have against you. Your lawyer has a responsibility to educate and prepares you for the process involved in your case. He guides you and looks at the different options that you have.
Hiring a defense attorney is not about escaping judgment, but ensuring that you get a good chance of getting a significantly lesser punishment option. Your attorney knows whether to set your case for a trial, plea bargain or work out a diversion program for you, all in your best interests.
Walmart Self-Checkout Theft
A high percentage of shoplifting cases in Walmart happens at the self-checkout, a technology aimed at getting people out of lines faster. Because the self-checkout is automated and it seems no one is watching the shoppers, some people think about how to steal stuff.
Walmart stores are large, with a high influx of people at every minute. The self-checkout is put in place to prevent crowding in the store. Instead of having to wait in line for a cash register, you can scan the items by yourself and pay without the help of customer service. It’s quite unfortunate that the self-checkout that was put in place for customer convenience is the major theft point.
Self-checkout theft at Walmart may seem like a safe idea to anyone, since you may decide not to scan some of the items bought. However, before taking that risk, you should know that there are cameras planted everywhere in store for the LP to see you. So, you may not be lucky enough to get out of the store. And even if you get out, Walmart has a way of tracking self-checkout theft and eventually sends police down to your home.
If you find yourself in a Walmart self-checkout theft case, endeavor to reach out to defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer. He has lengthy experience in defending Walmart self-checkout theft cases in Louisiana. Delay is dangerous! When you get a citation from the police, ensure to work with a lawyer to prepare your defense before the court date.
What Happens When You Go To Court For Shoplifting?
This is the time to face the consequences of your action. The first thing that happens in court is an arraignment. This is the point where you meet a prosecutor who explains your charge to you. Before going further, you must know that hiring a lawyer before you go to court is important. Your lawyer will be the one to talk with your prosecutor. He discusses possible options that can prevent you from going to trial.
One of the options your lawyer can help you secure is a plea. This challenges you to stay away from trouble for 6 to 12 months and your charge will be dropped. A plea bargain is a challenge to keep out of trouble. However, if you get into trouble within this period, you will stand trial for both charges now. You are expected to pay certain court fees if your lawyer is able to get you a plea bargain.
The other way to do this is to challenge the charge. For this, you have to hire a Walmart shoplifting lawyer to challenge the evidence provided by the prosecution. They have to prove without a doubt that you committed the crime or your case is dropped. This is why it is important to get in touch with a defense lawyer early. Your defense lawyer is the only person you owe the details and truth of the incident. He then uses the details to develop a defense strategy that can put you on a better foot with your case.
Defense is unique to different cases. Every case needs a reasonable defense to challenge the claim of the prosecution. There is no one size fits all in defense, instead, the defense is devised according to the circumstances and details of your case. A viable defense can get your sentence reduces or charges dropped. You do not have the burden to prove your innocence, but you are only supposed to challenge the claim by disproving the intent to steal.
Consequences of Stealing
Every illegal action sure has some consequences, and stealing is not left out. The legal consequences of stealing depend on the dollar value of the item stolen, along with some other factors. If you are caught stealing, you may bear consequences including a jail term, fines, restitution to the victim and community, and civic consequences, such as loss of the right to possess a firearm. Shoplifting is a theft in Louisiana. These are the penalties for shoplifting at Walmart in Louisiana:
• If the alleged stolen goods are worth less than $1000 dollars with no prior shoplifting convictions: If a person steals goods worth less than $1000 and has no previous shoplifting history, he/she may either pay a fine of $1000 and/or spend 6 months in jail.
• If the alleged stolen goods are worth $1000 dollars or more but less than $5000 with no prior shoplifting case: if a person shoplifts goods worth $1000 or more but less than $5000 and has had no prior shoplifting cases, he/she may be looking at either pay a fine of $1000 and/or spend up to two years in jail. This is a felony.
• When the alleged value of goods amounts to a value of $5000 dollars or more, but less than a value of $25,000 dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 10 years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.
• If the alleged goods amount to a value of $25,000 dollars or more, the defendant shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than 20 years, or may be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both.
• If the amount is less than $1000 but the defendant has two prior theft convictions, the third becomes a felony punishable by two years in prison.
• Value is added up: When there has been a misappropriation or taking by a multiple separate acts of the defendant, the total of the amount of the thefts shall determine the grade of the offense.
There is no black and white in law, therefore, there are alternatives sentences that offenders may be made to face. A major alternative sentence for stealing is the pretrial diversion program, which is a diversion from the traditional judiciary process. The offender is not sentenced to jail but is made to fulfill a set of conditions to get their charges dropped. Conditions to fulfill in pretrial diversion include community service and counseling/educational programs as opposed to jail terms.
Pretrial diversion is reserved for a first offender, juvenile, and theft of item of negligible value. Offenders are expected to pay a certain amount of money before enrolling for this program. Upon completion of the pretrial diversion program, the stealing charge is dropped and then you can file for expungement. However, if the offender could not fulfill the conditions of the program, they will go back to trial and face the consequences of stealing.
Does Walmart Prosecute Shoplifters?
Walmart is one of the stores with the strictest prosecution policy. Originally, Walmart prosecutes shoplifters for every shoplifting case, no matter how small. Even if you are caught with merchandise as small as a pack of cigarettes or a pair of socks, you would be prosecuted. But, it’s no different as Walmart lets you go if you are caught with an item of $25 or less. They, however, prosecute you for any penny higher than this. They also have a policy not to prosecute juvenile and first-time thieves. See an article here on how harsh Walmart is in prosecution.
Aside from these exceptions, Walmart prosecutes every other case of shoplifting at their store. Walmart is notorious in the legal world for its strict prosecution policy. They do all they can as regards to legal options. They follow any and every arbitrary clause in their contract and ensure it is enforced. Walmart pursues every civil and criminal option available to them against shoplifters. They are also ruthless when it comes to seeking compensation.
Therefore, don’t be misled into thinking Walmart wouldn’t prosecute you if you steal from their store. The best help you can give yourself is to hire a skilled and experienced defense attorney. A defense attorney that has dealt with cases of Walmart shoplifting will be able to craft a defense strategy to achieve the best possible result with your case.
Walmart Shoplifting Lawyer in Louisiana
If you are facing a Walmart shoplifting charge in Louisiana and have questions and curiosities about your case, you should consider contacting a Walmart shoplifting lawyer in Louisiana. Having a defense lawyer by your side will make all the difference in your case.
Talk To Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney
For Walmart shoplifting charges in Louisiana, you need to align yourself with a skilled and experienced defense attorney like the Barkemeyer Law Firm If what you need is competence, thorough follow-through and someone that will defend you with absolute passion and precision.
Carl Barkemeyer has vast and incomparable experience, incredible track record, and will treat your case with absolute urgency.
The Barkemeyer Law Firm can assist you in exploring your options, including entering a pretrial diversion program, plea bargain, negotiations and making raising defense strategies. Learn more about his law firm below.