Friends of mine were shopping in a supermarket yesterday and were arrested for shoplifting. Packet of toilet rolls hanging on the back of the trolley were not paid for, Female friend hung them on the trolley and male friend was pushing the trolley out of the store when they were stopped by store detective. Police called, both of them arrested and formally charged.
What would happen next? My friend is in a right state about it and thinking they may not get their visa now for a holiday to America in 9 weeks. Would this be a possibility?
For a first time offence the most likely outcomes are a penalty notice or a caution from the police.
As I understand it the arrest means your friend will have to apply for a visa as they are no longer eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. That does not necessarily mean they won't be able to get a visa but I don't know the exact rules used.
Of course, a lot of people simply lie on the ESTA form and go in under the Visa Waiver Program anyway. I am not recommending that - it could be costly if your friend ends up being refused entry - but it does happen.
Formally charged? Seems a bit harsh if for a first offence, I'd have thought they would get a caution. Have they got a court date yet? I'd suggest instructing a solicitor sooner rather than later with regards to representing them at the hearing.
As prh says, it may well cause them problems if they go to America although if going in 9 weeks that may be before their Court date so they might be ok as no convictions at the time they are going.
Pretty sure would be a first offence, asked her if she was sure she was formally charged and not just given a caution, she said she thinks was charged as they read out the bit 'anything you say can be used in court etc etc
So sounds like they were charged, but could it have been just a caution?
she would have had to have accepted a formal caution so must have known. They have to be cautioned (you do not have to say anything blah blah blah) as soon as they are arrested so just because they were cautioned does not mean they were charged.
I'm sorry but I don't understand how she cannot know whether she was charged to return on bail/attend Mags court or was giving a formal caution (ie don't do it again or else!)
Just for clarity, the arrest is enough to mean your friend is no longer eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. It doesn't matter whether or not it leads to a conviction. And I'm not sure whether the advice I gave on likely outcomes applies in Scotland.
I thought you had to have intent for it to be theft? Paying for the rest of the shopping and not noticing the loo roll on the hook of the trolley is easily done. The supermarket may have a policy of prosecuting all 'offenders' but that doesn't mean she has to plead guilty.
Yes, in England the definition is that they have to have dishonestly appropriated property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it. That is the hard part, proving the intention/lack of intention.
Well under English law she isn't guilty, and you can only be given a caution if you accept guilt. I don't think you are entitled to a solicitor at police station in Scotland so perhaps she hasn't seen one. If she gets a court date (and you never know they might drop it) she should plead not guilty. Don't know about Scotland but it would be quite likely all over within nine weeks even with a trial in my area.