What are Shoplifting Laws in Hawaii?
According to experts, criminals will not become normal people unless they themselves make up their minds to become normal citizens. But governments are aware that they cannot afford to keep quiet and not take any steps for putting criminals on the right path because a society with a number of criminals can dilute and harm its very moral fabric. In fact, the aim of awarding punishments to criminals is to achieve this aim, though governments can not be certain that the aim will be achieved.
That is the main reason they have put in place various laws for preventing crimes and for punishing those who commit them. Among various types of crimes, the crime of theft that includes shoplifting as well is unique because it can cause inexplicable mental agony to the victims. Of course, there are laws in the US that govern the crime of shoplifting and the punishments that should be awarded to criminals who commit this crime. In fact, every US state has its own laws for handling this crime. Let us now look at shoplifting laws in Hawaii.
Does shoplifting belong to the theft category?
According to US laws, and more particularly, Hawaii laws, shoplifting belongs to a specific category of theft crime. To put it differently, shoplifting is also a theft offense as per the laws of the state. Sections from 708 to 830 of the state laws define this crime. According to these sections, this crime is said to occur when a person, with the intention of defrauding a merchandise owner or a shopkeeper, carries out the following activities:
- Hides the goods of a store or takes them into possession
- Changes the marking or the price tag of the goods of a store,
- Transfers the goods in a store-container to another container.
What are the criminal penalties awarded to a person who commits the shoplifting crime in Hawaii?1. If a person commits a shoplifting crime and if the value of the merchandise he or she has shoplifted does not exceed $100, the offense belongs to the category of a petty misdemeanor. This offense attracts a punishment of incarceration for a period not exceeding 30 days along with a minimum fine amounting to two times the merchandise value or the aggregate value of the goods shoplifted.
2. Shoplifting of merchandise, the value of which is more than $100 but less than $300 is considered to be an offense of misdemeanor according to Hawaii laws. Courts will convict the offender with punishments of imprisonment for a period that does not exceed one year and a minimum fine amounting to thrice the shoplifted merchandise value or its aggregate value.
3. If the accused has shoplifted merchandise, the value of which exceeds $300, the offense belongs to a Class-C felony. For this crime, the courts will award punishments of incarceration or community service for a period that does not exceed five years along with a minimum fine. But the fine should not exceed four times of the shoplifted merchandise value or its aggregate value. If the offender has a record of a previous conviction, the courts will double the fine amount that is payable.
What are the civil penalties awarded for shoplifting crimes according to Hawaii laws?
According to Hawaii laws, a person accused of committing the shoplifting crime may become civilly liable also to the merchandise or store owner. The details of civil liability are as follows:
- The offender should pay the actual damages incurred by the merchandise or shop owner.
- He or she should also pay a civil penalty amount of $75.
- Additionally, he or she should pay an extra civil penalty amount as well. The amount should not exceed $500. The extra civil penalty amount payable should not also be below $50.
Hawaii state government has brought about a few amendments to the shoplifting laws. A few legal experts have provided interpretations and commentaries for these amendments. For example, according to these laws, the convicts will have to pay a minimum mandatory fine for this crime. But the state has decided to retain the clause that can alternatively be applied instead of payment of fines.
By applying this alternative clause, the courts can order that the convicts can carry out public-service work instead of paying fines. The state government may perhaps have felt that such public-service work is a good alternative to establishing what is known as the "debtors' prison."
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