Shoplifting charges in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Shoplifting may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-20. Shoplifting is the criminal act of taking and carrying away merchandise from a retail establishment without making payment.
Legal elements of shoplifting
In order to be convicted of Shoplifting, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant engaged in any of the following conduct: (a) takes possession of, carries away, or transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale by a retail establishment; (b) alters, transfers, or removes a label, price tag, marking, indicia of value or any other marking which aids in determining value affixed to any merchandise and attempts to purchase the merchandise; (c) transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail establishment from one container to another in an attempt to purchase the merchandise; or (d) removes a shopping cart from the premises of a retail establishment without consent of the merchant; and
- with the intent to depriving the merchant of all or any part of the full retail value of the merchandise.
Potential punishment if convicted of shoplifting in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island criminal law, a first conviction for Shoplifting is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or two times the full retail value of the merchandise, whichever is greater and/or by imprisonment for not more than one year.
If the defendant has been previously convicted of shoplifting, any subsequent offense is a felony punishable by up to not more than five years in prison. These penalties may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-20.
Examples of shoplifting
Shoplifting may be committed in several different ways. Most commonly, Shoplifting occurs when a person steals merchandise from a place of business. Some examples of Shoplifting are as follows:
- Taking a candy bar off the shelf at a convenience store and placing it in your pocket or somewhere it is concealed without paying for it;
- Taking a T-shirt of the shelf in a clothing store and putting it on underneath your own clothes and leaving the store without paying;
- Placing an item from one store inside the bag of another store (ex. While at the mall you buy a pair of socks from Macy’s and then walk into JCPenney’s and take a dress off the shelf and place it in your Macy’s bag);
- Filling a shopping cart with items inside the store and walking out of the store without paying;
- Taking a shopping cart from a store parking lot;
- Removing the price tag from one item and switching it with the price tag of another item (ex. You take the price tag off of a pair of shoes that costs $150 and switch it with the price tag of another pair of shoes that costs $50);
- Removing an item from its original box or container and placing it in another items box or container (ex. You try on two pairs of boots at DSW, one pair is $250 and the other is $50, you switch the boxes so the expensive pair is in the box for the cheaper pair).
If you have been charged with a theft offense and need representation, contact the Rhode Island Theft Defense Attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.