No, it’s not the crime of the century but it is an offense that angers judges, prosecutors, and store owners alike. They believe that Shoplifting is a gateway crime that leads one to engage in other more serious crimes if consequences are not initially dealt. They also believe that rampant shoplifting throughout the community drives up the prices of goods sold in stores. Of course, the fact that certain retail stores are able to have 50% off sales every other week suggests to some that the stores don’t need any excuse to jack up the prices on their retail merchandise.
Nevertheless, if you have been charged with Shoplifting, then the macro-economic impact of retail prices should be the least of your worries. What you need to know about Shoplifting is this: it is a misdemeanor offense, which means that you could be facing up to 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.
You are correct if you assume that most people do not go to jail for 12 months because they shoplifted. But it is possible and not uncommon for people to be sent to jail for multiple shoplifting convictions. Also, the consequences for shoplifting may vary from court to court. If you are charged with shoplifting in a court that sits in a major retail area, then you might receive a harsher punishment than if you were to be charged in a court where there are few major stores and shoplifting is not an ongoing problem.
You should also know that even an arrest for Shoplifting can have collateral effects on your personal life and career. If you are arrested for Shoplifting on a slow news day, it is not unusual for a local paper to publish your name and booking photo on the front page for your friends, neighbors, and employer to see. You may be suspended from your job if you are arrested for Shoplifting even if you haven’t been convicted! Remember that companies are not courthouses, bosses and managers are not judges, and as such they are unfortunately not bound by the presumption of innocence.
If you have any questions or concerns about a Shoplifting allegation in your life, then please call or e-mail Attorney Mark Osborne or Attorney Justin Shepherd. We are happy to speak with you and it won’t cost you a time. All consultations are free.
Office Phone: 603-595-5525