What are Shoplifting Laws in Nebraska?
Shoplifting is a common kind of theft seen across the U.S and it is no different in Nebraska. The term ‘Shoplifting’ refers to the activities such as concealing merchandise from a store or outlet, changing price tags, transferring the merchandise to a different container or causing the cash register to reflect a lesser value than the actual in order to mislead the merchant or deprive him of his goods’ retail value. Since this is done intentionally, it is considered as a crime and in Nebraska, there are strict rules and penalties relating to the offense.
Shoplifting was considered as petty theft and not taken seriously by the courts and the society a few decades ago. However, the scenario has entirely changed now; since the retail industry is suffering huge losses due to shoplifting, the crime is taken into account and the offenders imposed with severe jail sentences and heavy fines. Moreover, the convicted are banned by most of the retail stores while Nebraska employers do not entertain people that come with a record of a theft conviction. Societal reputation takes a hit too.
It is a fact that many a time people are charged with shoplifting out of mistaken identity or because the shopper honestly forgot to pay. If you are facing such a charge, it is best recommended to consult a Nebraska legal professional since he better knows the laws pertaining to Nebraska shoplifting, diversion programs, penalties and defense options.
Nebraska shoplifting: Penalties
If the merchandise stolen is valued at:
- $200 or under with no prior conviction charges, it is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 6 months jail term along with a $1000 in fine.
- Less than $200 with one conviction in the past, it is regarded as a class 1 misdemeanor that carries a one- year prison sentence coupled with a fine of up to $1000.
- $200-$500 with no past conviction record, it is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor that carries a 12-months prison sentence along with a fine of up to $1000.
- $200-$500 with one or more convictions in the past, the offense is classified as a class 4 felony that carries a 5-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.
- $200 or under with 3 or more convictions in the past, it is regarded as a class 4 felony that carries a 5-year prison sentence along with a fine of up to $10,000.
- $500-$1500, it is classified as a class 4 felony that carries a penalty of 5-year prison time with a fine of up to $10000.
- Over $1500, it is a class 3 felony that carries a prison term ranging between 1-20 years and a fine of up to $25000.
The owner of the stolen merchandise can also detain the shoplifters and guardians of shoplifters (where the accused are minors) for a reasonable amount of time in a reasonable manner in order to question them or summon the legal agency.
Victim merchants can sue adult shoplifters and the guardians of minor shoplifters for actual damages, reasonable lawyer fees, and court costs. However, parents or legal guardians of minor shoplifters are legally responsible only if the minor shoplifter was living with them at the time of committing the act.
First time and lower-level offenders can enter the diversion program before the trial under which they can accept their mistake. However, such a program requires the offender to undertake community service, pay restitution and heed to the other mandated tasks specified by the court. If the offender is not eligible for the diversion program, he can plead guilty with the prosecutor and seek reduced charges or lighter sentences. This is called a ‘Plea bargain’.
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