Can I be charged with shoplifting if I never went inside the store?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be charged with shoplifting if I never went inside the store?

I gave someone a ride to the grocery store and when she came out a man followed her and asked her to come back inside. She looked at her receipt and said it was a mistake and offered to pay for the item in question which was

about $8. They said no you can’t so she took out the meat and gave it back to the guy. Then she got in my car and we left. Now I got a letter stating that there’s a show cause hearing to determine whether or not they will proceed with charging me for shoplifting but I never entered the store. Can I be

charged with shoplifting if I didn’t know anything about it? I didn’t enter the store at all.

Asked on September 24, 2018 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can be charged with a crime if you assisted in it--that is, if you were an accomplice. If there is evidence that you were working with this person and helped them in some way--whether as lookout, as transporation to the store to be robbed, as "get away driver," etc., that could be enough to charge you. There mere fact, however, that you were driving them, is not enough: there must be evidence that you knowingly or intentionally were helping them to try and shoplift in some fashion.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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