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Did you experience false imprisonment over shoplifting claims?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2023 | Personal Injury

Your rights and freedoms have protection under federal law and California state rules. Typically, it is illegal for other parties to infringe on your freedom, especially by restraining you in a location without your consent. False imprisonment could involve attempted kidnapping or other kinds of crime.

Occasionally, individuals will experience false imprisonment because of allegations made against them. Management, loss prevention specialists or security officers may have detained you based on accusations of shoplifting. Could you potentially bring a claim of false imprisonment against a retail establishment based on the actions of certain employees?

False imprisonment can occur because of shoplifting claims

Technically, California state law both protects against false imprisonment and also extends certain protections to retail establishments. Businesses have the right to temporarily detain someone to reasonably investigate suspicions of shoplifting. Without such protections, businesses would be hard-pressed to deter thieves without the presence of armed security or police officers nearby.

It is theoretically permissible for appropriate parties to briefly detain someone based on a suspicion of shoplifting. However, when their suspicions have no real justification or when the detention goes from a few minutes to multiple hours, the situation may cross the line between reasonable and inappropriate.

In other words, it will largely be the details of the situation that determine your rights as the person who feels like they faced unfair detention at a retail establishment.

Why fighting back can be a smart move

You probably felt humiliated when you got stopped while shopping or trying to exit the store and then increasingly frightened for your safety and future while you were unable to leave. Taking legal action can compensate you for the harm done to your reputation and mental health. It can also teach the business and its employees an important lesson about the rights of even those suspected of theft offenses.

Particularly in scenarios where you believe some kind of profiling may have led to the claims against you, taking legal action against the business could benefit not just you but anyone else who chooses to shop there in the future. Placing a value on the impact of false imprisonment and pursuing a personal injury claim can be difficult but worthwhile for those unfairly accused of a property crime at a retail establishment.