Being accused of shoplifting means you face serious accusations. Depending upon the amount stolen, you can face up to felony charges. Despite the charge, hiring an attorney is highly recommended as the consequences of a conviction for one of these crimes can be extreme and can have a lifetime impact on your reputation and future. Our award winning criminal shoplifting defense lawyers are at your service. Aggressive experienced representation with multiple defense strategies. Free confidential consultation with our criminal defense attorneys. Contact us today!
Shoplifting in Missouri
Missouri laws under section 570.030, recognize shoplifting as a form of theft both at the state and municipal level. A person commits the offense of shoplifting if he or she takes property from another, without their consent, with the intention of depriving the owner their property. Shoplifting is not limited to stealing physical property. It also encompasses theft or fraudulent acquisition of services. For example swapping price tags or leaving a cybercafé without paying.
Not Always Just A Petty Crime
Often considered a petty crime by persons who do not have in-depth knowledge of the law, but this isn’t always the case. Shoplifting in Missouri can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances around the alleged theft and what property was stolen. Misdemeanors carry lesser penalties while felonies come with hefty fines and incarceration terms exceeding one year.
Shoplifting in Missouri can have significant penalties and should not always be considered a minor offense. Missouri state statutes and municipal laws classify shoplifting and related offenses in classes with each class having specific penalties both in fines and imprisonment.
Penalties For Shoplifting
Class A Misdemeanor theft: Shoplifting property or a service valued at less than $500 is considered a class A misdemeanor theft. This offense is punishable by a jail term not exceeding one year and a fine of up to $1000.
Class C felony theft: A person commits a class C felony theft when he or she shoplifts property or services worth more than $500 but less than $25,000. This offense is punishable by a jail term between one year and seven years, or a fine of up to $5000.
Class B felony theft: It is a Class B felony if the stolen property is worth more than $25,000. A class B felony is punishable by a prison sentence between five years but not exceeding 15 years.
Missouri statutes and municipal laws allow stores to detain persons suspected of shoplifting for a reasonable period of time provided there are sufficient grounds to detain the suspect. However, a suspected shoplifter should not be detained for a period of time deemed unreasonably long without calling the police or releasing them. Stores or service providers that detain suspected shoplifters for a period of time long enough to be deemed unreasonable could be sued for false imprisonment. The Missouri statute of limitations for shoplifting provides that a prosecutor files misdemeanor charges within one year or three years for a felony. In some cases, stores may not press charges and instead they will send the shoplifter a civil demand letter that requires them to pay a particular amount of money as reimbursement for damages.
Don’t Fight the Charges Against You Alone
The experienced attorneys at the KC Defense Counsel have valuable experience defending those accused of serious criminal crimes including stealing and robbery. If you’ve been charged with one of the theft crimes, call the team at the KC Defense Counsel to schedule a free initial consultation and to discuss the facts of your case.