Property crimes range in size from people running out of restaurants without paying to someone stealing a household’s electronics while everyone is at work for the day. Theft can involve fraud, or it could involve armed robbery.
Colorado law has rules in place for all kinds of theft. Property crimes come in varying degrees of seriousness, depending on the intended target, the value of the property involved and the amount of violence possible.
When compared with armed robbery or even a home invasion scenario, shoplifting may seem like a minor criminal offense. However, it is one of the more widespread forms of theft. It has an impact on what companies make and even what they charge consumers for their products. Although people often think of shoplifting as a minor, slap-on-the-wrist offense, it could actually lead to felony charges under current Colorado law.
When does shoplifting become a felony offense?
Barring any sort of special circumstances, like the commission of a secondary crime at the time of the shoplifting incident, it is the total value of the products taken that will determine the severity of the charges. There are several different categories of misdemeanor shoplifting, which Colorado has recently revised. However, the point at which the offense becomes a felony has not changed.
If the total value of the merchandise involved is $2,000 or more, then the person charged with taking the property will face felony charges rather than misdemeanor charges. There are several different categories of felony shoplifting possible, with higher-priced items bringing more serious charges and penalties.
Shoplifting can add up quickly
It might only take a few electronic devices, pairs of designer sunglasses or pieces of fine jewelry to push someone over the threshold for a felony charge. Businesses can sometimes accuse those who have never even left the business with merchandise of shoplifting.
The greater the overall value of the items involved, the more important a proper response to those charges will be. When the penalties include fines and incarceration, pleading guilty and hoping for the best in court is not the ideal strategy. Learning the rules that apply to theft charges in Colorado can help those accused of a property offense decide the next step to take.