Being caught for shoplifting is one of the most embarrassing and stressful situations anyone will ever find themselves in. If you made a minor error in judgement and this is your first offense, you may have a few options. One of the most common cases we see at our Oklahoma criminal defense law firm is shoplifting, however, there is no standard, one-size-fits all when it comes to shoplifting cases. People of all ages and class shoplift, and shoplift laws vary greatly from state to state. In the state of Oklahoma, shoplifting is considered larceny, which means the merchandise was taken from the retailer without any intention of paying for the goods.
So, what are your options when you are caught shoplifting? Before we go into what the next steps are following a shoplifting charge, let's talk about what qualifies as shoplifting in Oklahoma:
- You took merchandise from a retailer by fraud or stealth with the intent to deprive permanently
- This merchandise can be valued at any dollar amount
The definition of shoplifting is pretty straightforward, but the charges you face and the next steps are a bit more complex. Again, please keep in mind that shoplifting changes by state. If you have been accused of shoplifting in a state outside of Oklahoma, we may still be able to advise you, but remember the laws may differ.
What Are My Options?
In Oklahoma, there are two main defense paths that can be taken following a shoplifting charge:
- The retailer acquiesced to your taking of the item (meaning they said, “go ahead, you can take that”)
- You took the item by accident and/or meant to return it (an example would be accidentally leaving something in your cart or basket without realizing it)
The penalties for shoplifting in Oklahoma are as follows:
- Petit larceny – Property stolen is valued at under $500
- Grand larceny – Property stolen is valued at more than $500, or the property was taken directly from another individual
- Multiple convictions –
- Second charge of taking goods valued under $500 – You may face a misdemeanor conviction; $1,000 fine; and up to one year in jail
- Third charge of taking goods valued under $500 – You may face a felony conviction and two to five years in prison
- Goods valued at least $1,000 – Felony conviction and up to five years in prison
Now that you understand what penalties you may face following shoplifting charge in Oklahoma, let's go over your options. Depending on what court you are in and the circumstances surrounding your case, there may be numerous programs and alternatives available to you, especially if it is a first time arrest. Generally speaking, the legal system wants to support people and ensure they don't make the same mistake twice. With the help of an experienced Oklahoma city criminal defense attorney, your chances of avoiding jail time and having to pay lesser fees are much better.
In many cases the lawyers at Worden Law are able to get criminal shoplifting cases dismissed after meeting with the prosecutor and pleading the client's case. If you have been accused of shoplifting in Oklahoma City, please contact Worden Law Firm today so we can go over the charges you face and explain your options. With our help, you will likely be able to avoid an embarrassing stint in jail and get back to your life. Please give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.