Shoplifting Theft in Colorado

Shoplifting in Colorado Is a Theft Offense

Shoplifting in our state may sound like a high school prank, but it can be charged as a felony theft or misdemeanor theft, and have lifelong implications for the person charged. Theft, in Colorado, involves the taking of property of another with intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use. In most shoplifting cases, the accused is charged with taking or attempting to take something of value from a retail establishment.

Potential Shoplifting Penalties in Colorado

Whether shoplifting is charged as a felony or misdemeanor depends on the value of the item(s) involved. Colorado theft is classified in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) at 18-4-401 as a Class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the item involved is less than $500. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor if the item involved is $500 to $999. It is a Class 4 felony if the value is $1,000 to $20,000. If valued at $20,000 or more, then the theft is classified as a Class 3 felony. Remember, felonies are punishable by imprisonment in the Colorado Department of Corrections, and misdemeanors are punishable in the county jail in Arapahoe County, Denver County, Douglas County, Adams County and other Colorado counties. We represent people accused of shoplifting in every Colorado county from Grand Junction to Sterling.

When young people commit this crime, our society first sees it as a minor property offense. Young people can be given special consideration in plea negotiations and sentencing due to their immaturity and lack of criminal history. However, with young and old alike, Colorado shoplifting can quickly turn into serious criminal conduct. In the event a shoplifting incident goes bad and a store employee or security officer becomes involved in stopping the shoplifting, the crime can escalate into a Class 5 felony "theft from the person of another," C.R.S. 18-4-401(5). If there is any type of struggle for the item in the process of leaving the store, the crime escalates to the Class 4 felony "robbery", C.R.S. 18-4-301. Robbery is defined as, "knowingly taking anything of value from the person or presence of another by the use of force, threats or intimidation." If a weapon is involved, even a knife, the crime quickly escalates into a crime of violence with mandatory prison time.

An Unforeseen Consequence of Shoplifting Under Colorado Law

The Colorado legislature, at C.R.S. 13-21-107.5, has provided an automatic civil fine against the shoplifter concerning losses caused by theft. With little proof, the business is entitled to collect actual damages plus a penalty from $100 to $250 from the shoplifter. Parents are responsible to pay on behalf of a minor child. Typically, large, nationwide store chains have a department that sends out letters to shoplifters demanding payment of a fine for the shoplifting. The mindset of the law is that store security personnel and equipment are expensive, and that shoplifters who necessitate these expenditures should contribute to their cost.

Our Approach — Our Experience

Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers have defended hundreds of people like you from shoplifting charges in Denver, Arapahoe County (Aurora), Grand County, Douglas County (Castle Rock), Weld County (Greeley) and other Colorado counties. Our case results speak for themselves. We take an aggressive approach requiring strict proof of any shoplifting allegations. We confidently approach judges and district attorneys to protect your rights. We find real solutions to guard your criminal record and your need to find employment. In short, we are there for you throughout the process. Come to our office for a free consultation and learn about your charges and options.

If you have been contacted by a Colorado police officer or retail store security officer, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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