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Shoplifting may seem like an offense that is no big deal but get caught, and you can still face a theft charge that could land on your criminal record.
Furthermore, if during the commission of that crime something goes wrong, then depending on your reaction, you might just face additional charges – as two Arvada suspects will soon learn.
Two men were suspected of shoplifting from a King Soopers in Arvada. When a loss prevention officer approached them, they sprayed the officer with pepper spray and fled the scene.
This opens them up to criminal charges beyond theft and can serve as a cautionary tale for others about the dangers of using items that may be legal in other circumstances in the commission of another crime. Here’s what you need to know.
Shoplifting is a crime of theft in Colorado. Theft is defined under state laws as when a person knowingly retains, exercises control over, or obtains anything of value by deception or threat or without authorization.
While some may consider shoplifting not to be a huge deal, far-reaching penalties can result depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
Additionally, a victim of theft can attempt to get compensation for their losses through civil litigation, which is a process separate from criminal proceedings.
The criminal penalties for shoplifting in Colorado depend on the value of what was stolen. The different penalties are:
For items less than $50 in value, this level of offense is charged. It can result in as much as six months in jail or a fine of $500 – or both.
For items estimated between $50 and $300, this level of offense is likely to be charged. It can result in up to six months in jail and fines of $750.
For items estimated between $300 and $750, this offense level may be charged. It can result in up to 12 months in jail and fines of as much as $1,000.
If an item is estimated between $750 and $2,000, then this level offense can be charged. The punishment can land you in jail for up to 18 months and result in fines of as much as $5,000.
This level of offense is charged for items estimated between $2,000 and $5,000. It can result in up to 18 months in jail and fines of as much as $100,000.
This offense level is for items priced between $5,000 and $20,000. It can result in a sentence of up to three years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
You can be charged with this level of offense if the cost of the stolen property is between $20,000 and $100,000. The punishment for this class of felony is up to six years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.
For items priced between $100,000 and $1 million, this level of offense is charged. If found guilty, you can face up to 12 years in prison and be responsible for fines of up to $750,000.
Items priced over $1 million will result in this level of charge. You can face up to 24 years in prison and pay fines of as much as $1 million if convicted of this charge.
Colorado allows the use of pepper spray in self-defense, but not as an offensive weapon during the commission of another crime. Using pepper spray while shoplifting to help you escape can result in additional charges such as assault or reckless endangerment.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.