Shoplifting can include hiding merchandise in your purse or your clothes, hiding merchandise inside of other merchandise or even just swapping the tags with a cheaper item. Shoplifting can become a serious criminal matter when it becomes a felony. Shoplifting felonies can result in up to 10 years in prison depending on the gravity of the offense or offenses. When does a simple shoplifting misdemeanor become a felony?
The Value of the Merchandise
If the value of the merchandise that was taken during one occurrence is more than $300, it is considered a felony. It does not matter if it was your first and only shoplifting offense. Some first-time shoplifters are offered Pretrial Intervention or Diversion programs that keep you out of court.
The Number of Shoplifting Offenses
Even if the value of the merchandise shoplifted each time is less than $300, resulting in multiple misdemeanors, your fourth offense will be a felony. If your previous offenses were also felonies, the mandated one-year sentence for the fourth offense is in addition to any previous court sentencing.
The Location and Frequency of Offenses
Shoplifting can also be considered a felony if you shoplifted from three separate stores within seven days. All stores must be located within the same county. It is a felony even if the value of the merchandise that was taken is as little as $100.
The court may choose to look at other actions that took place during the shoplifting, such as whether or not you had a weapon with you or used it, if you made any verbal threats or even if you ran from the scene.
If you are facing felony charges due to shoplifting, be sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. With the right defense lawyer, you have the opportunity to be effectively and fairly represented in court. The defense team at Shepard, Plunkett & Hamilton LLP is waiting for your call to discuss your case.
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