Criminal Defense

Common Crimes That Happen During Black Friday

October 02, 2022 by Madison Ferguson in Criminal Defense  
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Black Friday Deals and Steals

Black Friday starts off Christmas shopping for many. Some retailers open on Thanksgiving evening, providing buyers access to big bargains. Intense competition for limited quantities of popular goods may arise in the face of crowds, long queues, and fierce demand. Contact a defense attorney immediately if you participate in threatening or violent conduct on Black Friday and are charged with a felony. A good criminal justice lawyer can safeguard your rights.

More than half of the adult population engages in Black Friday shopping.

Millions still shop at brick-and-mortar establishments despite the rising number of individuals who purchase online. Many websites track Black Friday-related injuries and fatalities worldwide. Since many events go unreported, the actual numbers are likely higher. Still, these websites offer a rough indication of the situation and how quickly Black Friday shopping can turn chaotic and violent.

Examples of typical criminal activity on Black Friday include the following:

Shoplifting: Other than speeding on the way to the store, shoplifting (PC 459.5PC 459.5 – California Shoplifting Laws) is the most common crime on Black Friday. Every year, shoplifters and employee theft cost retailers more than $32 billion. Even though more people are working in stores on Black Friday, it’s impossible to keep an eye on everyone. You can put a pair of earrings in your pocket or a video game in your backpack in just a few seconds. We don’t think it’s a good idea, and the fines can add up fast.

Estes Robbery: This is a frightening kind of theft since it may result in significant harm to the victim. The early hours of Black Friday are prime time for thieves since many people will be out shopping for devices and gadgets they may not use again until the following year. Shop with friends, park in a well-lit location, and feel free to ask staff to accompany you out to your vehicle. Carrying a small bottle of pepper spray with you is not a bad idea if your safety is a major concern.

Violence against others: Assault and Battery (PC 240, PC 242). It’s never a smart idea to assault someone over a Black Friday sale. You might want to punch the person who pushed you into the store or the person in front of you in line who bought the last item because they were in such a hurry. Nonetheless, doing so may have dire implications for you. Assault is defined under Penal Code 240 as an illegal attempt to inflict violent damage on another person when the offender has the means to do so. Intentional harm is a battery under California Penal Code Section 242. Therefore any effort to harm another person might result in criminal charges.

Brandishing a weapon or firearm: It’s not a good idea to wave a gun around to get a holiday gift. Even if you think you are acting in self-defense, brandishing a weapon while shopping in public is never a good idea. That’s because it’s against the law in California to show off a weapon, gun, or firearm. Penal Code Section 417 says that. On Black Friday, getting a good deal on electronics is not worth the time you could spend in jail if you carry a weapon.

False or forged checks: Even if you can’t afford the goods you desire, it might be hard to pass up the Black Friday offers. If that’s the case, you may be tempted to write a bad check for more money than you have in your bank account. Making a check payment when insufficient money is in your account is illegal in California under Penal Code Section 476a.

Failure to Disperse (PC 409, PC 416): Failure to disperse as commanded by law enforcement could be labeled a criminal offense under California Penal Code 409 and 416.

Riot Instigation (PC 404.6): If someone could not purchase that ridiculously low-priced flat-screen television, they may be tempted to take out their discontent on the business itself. Long wait times occur in stores due to high demand and little supply. It’s a recipe for an angry crowd, that’s for sure. Because inciting a riot is illegal in California (Penal Code 404.6), this is a terrible idea. There is a $1,000 fine and up to 364 days in county prison if you incite people to engage in aggressive, forceful, or damaging conduct while a riot is imminently possible.

How to Avoid Trouble on Black Friday?

When shopping on Black Friday, keep the following in mind to avoid situations like this and possible criminal charges:

  • Do not put your coat over things. If a security guard sees you do that, they might think you’re trying to steal things.
  • Don’t put things in the same bag inside the store.
  • Save all your receipts.
  • Avoid getting into fights in stores.
  • Don’t get aggressive when you’re driving.

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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.

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