Shoplifting may seem like a minor offense, but it is still a theft charge that may have life-changing consequences. A theft conviction can come with jail time and steep fines, and it can affect your ability to find employment.
Don’t let a shoplifting-related theft charge derail your future. The Denver criminal defense attorneys at Wolf Law have extensive experience helping those charged with theft find just resolutions to their cases and move forward with their lives.
If you’re facing theft charges in the greater Denver area, call Wolf Law today at 720-479-8574 for a free consultation or contact us online to tell us your story now.
Colorado Shoplifting and Theft Laws
Colorado defines theft, which includes shoplifting, in Article 4 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Theft occurs when:
“A person … knowingly obtains, retains, or exercises control over anything of value of another without authorization or by threat or deception; or receives, loans, money by pawn or pledge on, or disposes of anything of value or belonging to another that he or she knows to believe to have been stolen…”
Theft is a broad legal term used to describe several acts, including shoplifting. Colorado’s statutory intent law makes it clear that shoplifting is a type of theft:
“If any law of this state refers to or mentions larceny, stealing, embezzlement (except embezzlement of public moneys), false pretenses, confidence games, or shoplifting, that law shall be interpreted as if the word ‘theft’ were substituted…”
However, the law is written in a way that gives room for situations that could lead to trouble for some shoppers. For example, switching price tags or damaging merchandise are considered forms of shoplifting.
While some perceive shoplifting to be a minor crime, shoplifting penalties can be far-reaching. In addition to criminal changes, business owners or theft victims can pursue civil litigation to compensate losses and punish offenders.
Shoplifting and Theft Penalties in Colorado
The penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the stolen item(s). Based on the Colorado Revised Statutes, theft is categorized and penalized as follows:
- A Class 1 Petty Offense if the stolen item is less than $50. Penalties may include up to one year in jail and/or a fine.
- A Class 3 Misdemeanor if the stolen item is $50 or more but less than $300. Penalties may include up to six months in jail and/or a fine.
- A Class 2 Misdemeanor if the stolen item is more than $300 but less than $750. Penalties may include up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
- A Class 1 Misdemeanor if the stolen item is more than $750 but less than $2,000. Penalties may include up to 18 months in jail and a fine up to $5,000.
- A Class 6 Felony if the stolen item is more than $2,000 but less than $5,000. Penalties include one year to 18 months in jail and possible fines.
- A Class 5 Felony if the stolen item is more than $5,000 but less than $20,000. Penalties include one to three years in jail and possible fines.
- A Class 4 Felony if the stolen item is more than $20,000 but less than $100,000. Penalties include two to six years in jail and possible fines.
- A Class 3 Felony if the stolen item is more than $100,000 but less than $1 million. Penalties include four to 12 years in jail and possible fines.
- A Class 2 Felony if the stolen item is $1 million or more. Penalties include eight to 24 years in jail and up to a $1 million fine.
Aggravating factors such as resisting arrest, use of force to acquire stolen items, or several theft charges in a short period of time can enhance the penalties.
Contact a Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Cares
Even if you’re a first-time offender, shoplifting and theft penalties can be severe. Protect yourself and your future by working with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The compassionate attorneys at Wolf Law have handled numerous shoplifting and theft cases throughout the Denver metro area and Colorado. We know that people make mistakes, and we understand the unique challenges these charges create for individuals.
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a criminal diversion program, which are available to youths and adults alike. These programs can aid those struggling with mental health problems, disorders like kleptomania, drug abuse, and more.
If you or a loved one is accused of shoplifting or is facing other theft-related charges, call Wolf Law today at 720-479-8574 for your free consultation or contact us online to get started now.