13 Nov Shopkeeper’s Privilege and False Imprisonment in Richmond, VA
Shrink rates describe how much of a store’s inventory is lost due to shoplifting, and America has the second highest shrink rates in the entire world. As a result, store owners in Virginia have limited rights to detain shoplifters. If you have been detained by a shopkeeper or accused of store theft, it is important to know your own rights.
What is Shopkeeper’s Privilege?
Shopkeeper’s privilege allows store owners and their employees to temporarily detain an individual who they have reason to believe has shoplifted. This gives employees a chance to find out if store property has actually been stolen.
If a store employee suspects that you stole merchandise, they can stop you if you’re on or near the premises. They can then ask you to prove that you didn’t steal anything. If your rights are violated during such a detainment, you may have a case against the store.
When Shopkeeper’s Privilege Becomes False Imprisonment
Shopkeeper’s privilege in no way grants a store owner or employee the power of police officers. Shopkeepers are regular citizens who are given minimal and conditional authority due to their position in society. If they overstep their boundaries, they may be engaged in false imprisonment.
For store employees to meet the legal requirements for shopkeeper’s privilege, there must be a reasonable belief that you stole something. Additionally, reasonable force must be used to detain you, and this detainment can only be for a short period of time.
There are various instances when your rights may have been violated by store employees, including but not limited to the following:
- Excessive force was used to keep you on the property.
- There was no reasonable cause to detain you (looking suspicious is not enough).
- You were held against your will longer than necessary.
- You were detained away from the store’s property.
Thanks to the intricacies of the law, there are other instances where a store owner may be held liable as well. If they overstep their legally granted rights, then they lose the protection granted by shopkeeper’s privilege.
What to Do After Being Detained
If you are detained by store employees, do not turn the situation into a physical altercation. It is important to understand that shopkeepers don’t have the right to search you or demand a confession. Whether this situation results in an arrest or not, you would do well to contact an attorney.
An attorney will know the difference between shopkeeper’s privilege and false imprisonment in Richmond VA. Regardless of whether you’re convicted of shoplifting or not, you might have a case against a store owner if employees overstepped the boundaries set forth by law. Call The Paullin Law Firm today at (804) 423-7423 to ensure recompense for your violated rights and emotional distress.
Shopkeeper’s Privilege and False Imprisonment in Richmond, VA