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Whether in the Denver area, or anywhere in Colorado, shoplifting is most often charged as a municipal violation where the item of value alleged to be stolen is less than one-thousand dollars. As such it is most often a misdemeanor.
Shoplifting falls under the general concept of theft, where a person knowingly takes the property of another without authorization and conceals the thing of value intending that such concealment will deprive the other person permanently of its use and benefit. If any person willfully conceals unpurchased goods, wares, or merchandise that is offered for sale, the court may consider that evidence sufficient to conclude that the person intended to commit the crime of theft/shoplifting.
Possible consequences for shoplifting
Shoplifting is rarely charged as a felony, since the items that are commonly the subject of a shoplifting prosecution are less than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) in value.
Where the value of the goods is less than five hundred dollars ($500.00), shoplifting is a class 2 misdemeanor, and it may result in the following sentencing options to include: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to sixty (60) days, or up to a two (2) year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the county jail of up to one (1) year.
Where the value of the goods is five hundred dollars ($500.00) or more, but less than one thousand dollars ($1000.00), shoplifting is a class 1 misdemeanor, and it may result in the following sentencing options to include: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to sixty (60) days, or up to a two (2) year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the county jail of up to eighteen (18) months.
Where shoplifting is charged as a municipal violation, the maximum jail sentence is most often one (1) year, regardless of the value of the thing allegedly taken.
Possible Defenses for shoplifting
The defense most often seen to shoplifting is a lack of intent. This occurs most often when a shopper has her hands full and momentarily and inadvertently places something in her pocket while juggling other items. This is also seen when the shopper inadvertently walks out of the store while holding the item, completely unaware that they are doing so. It is important to show that the shopper is paying for multiple items that are worth far more than the item alleged to have been stolen. This normally would indicate that the person has the means and the intent to pay, therefore, it makes no sense to take one (1) small item while paying for many numerous larger items.
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