Retail Theft, as known as “Shoplifting” is an offense that may be prosecuted as a municipal ordinance violation (some people call that a “ticket”) or as a misdemeanor criminal offense. The penalty for an ordinance violation is a money fine. A misdemeanor is an offense which carries a jail possibility, along with a possible money and/or probation.
A shoplifting conviction, whether as a ordinance violation or crime, can carry additional consequences outside of the court penalties. You may be sued by the retailer for two times the amount of the value of the merchandise, collection costs and other damages.
Other long-term and unanticipated consequences may accompany a retail theft / shoplifting charge or conviction. Expect that you will be permanently barred from patronizing the premises of the retailer. You may be disqualified from obtaining certain professional licenses and jobs. Jobs in security, financial institutions, healthcare, elder care and many others may not be available after a municipal or criminal conviction.
Alternatives to a retail theft or shoplifting conviction are often available. This may include justice alternative programs, deferred prosecutions, hold-opens, and amendments to a non-theft offense.
It is important to understand the consequences and speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. Call us at (414) 224-6070.