Most of us make purchases in stores almost every day. The practice will have become second nature to us, and often we go through the motions on autopilot. But if we are having a busy or stressful day, we are more likely to make mistakes or be more forgetful.

It’s common for customers at a store to mistakenly walk out with items that they have not purchased. While they did not have the intent to steal, they could get caught by security guards and be accused of shoplifting. As a result, they may face legal charges.

Being falsely accused of shoplifting can be a stressful, upsetting and embarrassing situation to be in. While you know the truth of the situation, you must be able to convince the courts of your honest intent. The following are ways that you can build your defense.

Give a full account of your actions before the alleged shoplifting incident

You should be able to give a full account of the state of mind you were in before you accidentally walked away with an item that you had not paid for. For example, perhaps as you were shopping, you received an important work call. You may have decided to walk outside to take the call, but you were absent-mindedly holding an item you were shopping for.

Alternatively, you may have been shopping with your children. If they were arguing or if they became upset, this is likely to be distracting for you as a shopper. As a result, you may have forgotten to pay for all the items you intended to purchase when at the checkout.

Think about the evidence that could be used to help your case

Remember that security footage and other evidence could help to prove your innocence. For example, if your young child put an item into your handbag that you did not see and you mistakenly walked out with it, looking back at security footage could help you to prove this.

It can be challenging to prove your innocence when facing shoplifting charges because only you know your true intent. However, by taking early action to form a compelling defense, you will have the best possible chance of being successful.