There could be various reasons why an individual commits a shoplifting act. It could be because of peer pressure, the inability to afford the product, a mental disorder, or an impulse. Although it may be tempting to see shoplifting acts as a juvenile and harmless crime, it is taken seriously in Colorado. It has no distinction between other forms of theft violation but has the right to release from jail through the Denver bail bonds service.
This article will discuss what penalties you could face if you are charged with a shoplifting offense while being assisted by a licensed 24-hour bail bonds company and a trusted defense lawyer.
LEGAL DEFINITION OF SHOPLIFTING IN COLORADO LAWS
Shoplifting takes place if the person knowingly takes merchandise from a store without the intention to pay. In Colorado, shoplifting also falls under the theft statutes. Theft means knowingly obtaining or exercising control over someone’s property without the owner’s permission to deprive the owner permanently and intentionally uses, conceals, or abandons the property.
THEFT OR SHOPLIFTING BY CONCEALMENT OF NON-PURCHASED MERCHANDISE
The Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-406 states that the person is guilty of theft by concealment of goods or merchandise if the person hides the item, whether inside or outside the store. Using this evidence to prove the intention to steal the item could lead to several petty theft charges.
Therefore, you don’t have to take the stolen items outside the store for you to be charged with shoplifting in Colorado.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO CONVICT SOMEONE OF A SHOPLIFTING CHARGE?
The Colorado prosecutor needs to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” before someone can be sentenced guilty of shoplifting by the judge or the jury. Here are the things the prosecutor must prove;
- The defendant has the intention to deprive another party of the property permanently.
- The defendant intentionally got, kept, or took control of someone’s property without obtaining permission.
- The defendant used threats, deception, or otherwise acted without authorization to take full possession of the shoplifted property.
SHOPLIFTING PENALTIES UNDER CRS 18-4-406
Under Colorado law, you could face criminal or civil penalties if you are guilty of shoplifting. And the gravity of the consequences depends on the value of the item(s) taken.
Petty Offense Shoplifting
- Class 1 petty offense. If the item is valued at less than $50, you will be punished with up to 6 months of jail time and/or a $500 fine.
- Class 3 misdemeanor. If the total amount of items is valued at $50 to less than $300, you will be punished for six months of jail time and/or a $50 to $750 fine.
- Class 2 misdemeanor. If the total amount of items is valued at $300 to less than $750, you will be punished for 3 to 12 months of jail time and/or $250 to $1000 fine.
- Class 1 misdemeanor. If the total amount of items is valued at up to $750 to less than $2000, you will be punished for 6 to 18 months jail time and/or $500 to $5000 fine.
- Class 6 felony. If the total amount of items is valued at up to $2000 to less than $5000, you will be punished with one year to 18 months jail time and/or $1000 to $100,000 fine.
- Class 5 felony. If the total amount of items is valued at up to $5000 to less than $20,000, you will be punished with 1 to 3 years jail and/or $1000 to $100,000 fine.
- Class 4 felony. If the total amount of items is valued at up to $20,000 to less than $100,000, you will be punished with 2 to 6 years jail and/or $2000 to $500,000 fine.
- Class 3 felony. If the total amount of items is valued at up to $100,000 to less than $1,000,000, you will be punished for 4 to 12 years jail and/or $3000 to $750,000 fine.
- Class 2 felony. If the total amount of items is valued at more than $1,000,000, you will be punished with 8 to 24 years in jail and/or $5000 to $1,000,000.
WHAT IS PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM?
If you are a first-time or low-level violator, the Colorado shoplifting law may allow you to enter a pretrial diversion program. It means that you can avoid being convicted of the charge. Pretrial diversion program includes a few hours of law classes related to shoplifting and/or a few hours of community service.
POSSIBLE DEFENSES FOR SHOPLIFTING CHARGES
Your defense attorney or 24-hour bail bonds company can use several ways to defend you against the shoplifting charge. Here are the following strategies that your attorney might use:
Lack of Intent. If the defense lawyer can prove that the defendant has an innocent explanation of why the unpaid merchandise was in the defendant’s possession, the D.A can dismiss the case. Some of the reasons that could work are the defendant forgot to pay for the item, someone else planted the unpaid item, or if the owner agreed to pay for the goods at a later time.
Lack of evidence. You and your defense lawyer can win the case if there is no substantial evidence that you stole any merchandise that belongs to another person. On the contrary, you can present evidence to support your claim that you did not steal anything from showing the receipt, eyewitness testimony, or video footage surveillance.
Mental Illness. People who have a mental illness or disorder like kleptomania can avoid incarceration. Instead, the court will order you to enter into a rehabilitation program instead of prison. Therefore, posting bail through a Denver bail bonds service won’t be necessary.
Mistaken Identity. Another strategy to defend you against the shoplifting charge is to produce a solid alibi that you are not in the place where and when the shoplifting happened. Your defense attorney can use this alibi as you are mistakenly charged with the wrongful act.
Entrapment. Being forced to do things against your will can be used as a defense in a shoplifting case. You can prove that someone is ordering or pressuring you to get the item without paying the owner.