What are Shoplifting Laws in Colorado?
Shoplifting is a form of theft that occurs when a person attempts to get a product or merchandise without purchasing it. However, only concealing the product or merchandise won’t account for theft unless there is evidence that suggests an intent to get away with it. In such cases, theft or shoplifting is said to have occurred. Shoplifting is considered a serious offense in Colorado and the offender could be facing severe consequences including paying hefty fines as well as spending time in prison. Additionally, the shop owner can file a lawsuit against the shoplifter.
Shoplifting Laws in Colorado
The crime of theft in Colorado coming under sections 18-4-401 and 18-4-403 of the state’s revised statutes also incorporates shoplifting. While thefts involve the deprivation of someone’s property, knowingly or unknowingly, the penalties for the same vary depending on the value of the items stolen. Also, the penalties for theft tend to become more severe as the value of the stolen merchandise increases. Furthermore, Colorado shoplifting laws also allow merchants or the owners to detain and interrogate the shoplifters if they have enough reason to believe there was an intent to steal.
Merchants and shop owners also have all the rights to file lawsuits against an adult or a minor shoplifter. However, in the case of a minor, the merchant can only sue the parents or legal guardians.
Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting in Colorado
Penalties for shoplifting vary depending on the crime as well as the value of the items stolen. For instance, when items of $500 or less are stolen, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor, attracting fines ranging from $250 to $1,000. The defendant could also end up in prison for at least three months. Similarly, if the value of the items stolen is between $500 and $1,000, it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning the shoplifter may be spending six to 18 months in prison, and could even attract fines starting from $500, going up to $5,000.
According to the regulations governing theft detection, if the shoplifter tampers with any of the theft detection devices installed in the store or is found to possess tools that can be used to tamper with such theft detection devices, it accounts for a Class 4 felony. A felony of that degree can attract jail time ranging from two to six years, in addition to paying fines between $500 and $5,000. Likewise, if the shoplifter steals items worth $1,000, but not worth more than $20,000, it is a Class 4 felony and can bring him or her two to six years in prison as well as fines starting from $2,000, going up to $500,000.
In extreme cases where the value of the items or merchandise exceeds $20,000, the defendant could be facing up to six years in prison, along with having to pay fines ranging from a meager $3,000 to a whopping $750,000.
You can always get legal advice from a reputed criminal lawyer for your shoplifting case. Such criminal lawyers can help you raise defenses, negotiate pleas, and thus, bring down the charges.
The crime of shoplifting can also attract civil penalties and the offender may be liable for actual damages done. Such liabilities also come with additional penalties ranging from $100 to $250. Many counties in the state of Colorado offer pretrial diversion programs for a handful of shoplifters who have committed the crime for the first time. These programs may require offenders to do community service or to pay restitution. If the said offender is successful in completing the programs, the courts could consider dropping the charges.
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