What is the Difference Between Theft and Shoplifting?
Shoplifting and theft, according to Colorado law, are distinct offenses with varying degrees of severity. Shoplifting involves an individual taking merchandise from a store or other establishment without intending to pay for it. This act of stealing for personal use can fall into different categories, like petty theft or felony theft, depending on the value of the stolen property.
When a person commits theft, on the other hand, it denotes the act of intentionally taking someone else’s property without the intention of returning it. Some theft offenses are categorized as petty offenses, while others may lead to serious felony theft charges.
An experienced theft attorney, particularly a criminal defense lawyer well-versed in dealing with theft charges in Colorado Springs, will be able to guide you through the legal maze of a theft charge.
Whether it’s shoplifting or theft, petty theft or felony theft, the best course of action is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Liberty Law Center, we understand the intricacies of defending against theft charges, and you can count on us.
What are the Penalties for Theft and Shoplifting in Colorado?
In Colorado, individuals accused of shoplifting might be eligible for a pretrial diversion program. If you go through this process, it’ll allow you to keep your offense off your personal record. However, you’ll have to plead guilty to theft or shoplifting in order to enter into this program.
If you choose to forgo this plea bargain, some penalties range in severity based on the price of the stolen items, and there are going to be three common defense strategies:
- No Intent: Maybe you forgot to pay, or someone else planted the merchandise on your person, or maybe you thought it had been communicated to you that you could pay for it at a later date. Whatever the case, there is always a chance to have your case dismissed if you can prove you had no intention of taking merchandise from the store.
- No Shoplifting Occurred: You might be able to provide a receipt for merchandise, eyewitness testimony might be able to corroborate your story, or video surveillance footage might prove your innocence. Your chargers should be dropped if you’ve paid full price for your items.
- Illegal Search: Law enforcement needs probable cause to perform a search, and if they found merchandise on your person through an illegal search, then the court may dismiss it as evidence.
Shoplifting and Theft Charges are Serious
Being accused of theft or shoplifting is serious since it can lead to fines and potential prison time. With your future at stake, don’t risk hiring inexperienced legal representation. For over 35 years, Liberty Law Center has been defending the people of southern Colorado charged with theft charges, including:
- Theft from your employer
- Fraudulent credit card use
- Auto theft
- Check fraud
Contact a Colorado Springs Theft and Shoplifting Attorney For Help
If you’ve been accused of theft or shoplifting in Colorado, there are steps you can take to preserve your freedoms. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.