The Advantage Of Knowing How The Other Side Thinks

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When does shopping become a criminal offense?

Inevitably, you will shop for something at some point. Whether you need groceries, school supplies for your children or found a pair of shoes you want, commerce is an integral part of life.

No matter your income level, you probably come across things you want, like or wish you could afford on a regular basis. The temptation to sneak something out of a store may be real. However, so are the penalties.

Some corporations seek increased penalties for shoplifting

When accused of stealing an item from a retail location, you could face significant criminal charges. In some circumstances, you could face penalties for forgetting about an item you intended to pay for prior to leaving the store.

And although penalties may vary, you probably would not anticipate spending years in jail. However, you might remember a case from a few years ago. A Tennessee man faced felony charges and up to 12 years of incarceration due to a shoplifting incident at Walmart, among other charges.

Consequences can be significant

Statewide, penalties for theft can range, depending on the value of what the alleged stolen item includes. A stolen item worth less than $1,000 could result in a misdemeanor, with a jail sentence of up to 11 months.

The theft of purchases valued at $1,000 or more could result in charges which include:

  • Class E felony. The theft of items valued above $1,000, but beneath $2,500 is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment.
  • Class D felony. Stealing something worth between $2,500 and under $10,000 might result in a jail sentence of two to 12 years.
  • Class C felony. Stolen items valued over $10,000, but less than $60,000 could cost you up to 15 years of incarceration.
  • Class B felony. Taking $60,000-$250,000 worth of goods could keep you imprisoned for up to 30 years.

The criminal penalties only tell a part of the story. A conviction could taint your permanent record and hold additional consequences for your housing and employment options.

There are ways you can defend your reputation when facing shoplifting accusations. Meeting your allegations head-on allows for you to appropriately respond and potentially reduce or eliminate penalties.

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