December 9, 2023
The holidays can be tempting for many reasons. Maybe you’re tempted to eat too many mincemeat pies or have yet another slice of your grandpa’s famous fruit cake. Maybe you’re overindulging in beverages at your holiday office party. Or perhaps you end up in a crowded store with merchandise everywhere and think how easy it’d be to slip something into your pocket and walk out with it.
Temptations are all around, especially during the holiday season. During this season, there tends to be an increase in Shoplifting crimes. While it can be tempting to see shoplifting as something done by teens that you’ll get a slap on the wrist for, it’s a crime that can be pretty serious, with consequences that can impact your life for years to come.
If you got wrapped up in shoplifting charges this holiday, then it’s important to understand what that means in Colorado. Read on to discover the consequences of shoplifting in the state and how to defend yourself against these charges.
Shoplifting in Colorado
In Colorado, shoplifting occurs when someone obtains, exercises control over, or knowingly retains the property of another, intending to deprive them permanently of it without their authorization or with the use of deception or threat. Concealing merchandise or goods in a store is also a form of shoplifting in the state, called the concealment of goods. Concealment of goods isn’t the charge but rather a way that the prosecution can show the court that you had the intent to commit theft. You can be charged for shoplifting in Colorado while in the store. You can be detained legally for concealing any merchandise.
How shoplifting, a type of theft, is penalized in Colorado depends on the value of the stolen goods. It’s also important to note that if you are in a store and caught by the store owners or security shoplifting, Colorado law gives them the right to detain you and ask you questions.
The Penalties for Shoplifting
You can face severe penalties for shoplifting in Colorado. The severity of the punishment depends on the value of the goods accused of stealing.
Value of $500 or Less
If the goods accused of stealing are valued at less than $500, you will likely face charges for a Class 2 misdemeanor. This charge can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
Value Between $500 and $1000
You will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for shoplifting that involves values in this range. Misdemeanors may not seem as serious, but this one can put you in jail for up to 18 months and make you responsible for fines of as much as $5000.
Value Between $1,000 and $20,000
If you are found guilty of shoplifting items valued in this range, you face a Class 4 felony charge. That is punishable by as much as six years in prison and fines of $500,000.
Value Over $20,000
For big ticket items over this value, you’re looking at a Class 3 felony charge. This charge can send you to prison for up to 12 years. You can also be liable to pay fines of as much as $750,000.
It’s also important to note that if caught tampering with anti-theft devices in stores in Colorado, that is a crime. This charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor and can send you to jail for 18 months and make you responsible for fines of $5,000.
Each case is unique, so you must discuss with your attorney which type of defense best suits your case’s circumstances and facts. However, the most common defenses in shoplifting cases that may apply to your case include:
Lack of Intent
One of the elements of shoplifting as a crime is your intent to deprive a business of its goods. If you thought the item was yours or put it into your bag by accident, that might be a workable defense to your actions.
A case against a person for shoplifting is often dropped if there’s insufficient evidence to convict. Your attorney can help you to understand if this is an option for you.
It Wasn’t You
Mistaken identity does happen and can be a workable defense if you have an alibi to prove you were not involved in the crime.
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.