At the Law Offices of Ronald R. Humphrey, we handle a variety of criminal cases, including theft crimes like shoplifting. No matter the relative severity of the crime of which you have been accused, we are prepared to evaluate your case for free and help you evaluate your options.
If you have been charged with a crime, there is no time to waste. Securing legal representation immediately can protect you from harsh penalties and change the course of your life for the better. Connect with a member of our team as soon as you are accused, arrested, or have reason to believe you may soon be charged with a criminal act of any kind.
Call (401) 441-5486 now to schedule your free, confidential consultation with a Rhode Island shoplifting lawyer.
How Is Shoplifting Defined?
Rhode Island General Laws define shoplifting as an act of theft that involves:
- Transferring and/or taking possession of any merchandise from a retail mercantile establishment in order to deprive the seller of any or all of the full retail value of the product
- Altering, transferring, or removal price indication from merchandise in order to deprive the merchant of any or all of the full retail value of the product
- Transferring unbought merchandise from one container to another in order to deprive the merchant of any or all of the full retail value of the product
- Removing a shopping card from the premises of a retail establishment without the merchant’s approval and with the intent to deprive the merchant of the cart
Shoplifting can take a variety of forms, but it generally means removing an item from a store or retailer without paying the advertised price. However, leaving a store without paying for an item does not necessarily qualify as shoplifting. Intent is a critical piece of the puzzle, and, in some cases, may be sufficient grounds to charge someone with shoplifting, even if they are unsuccessful in doing so.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Rhode Island
The penalties for shoplifting are determined by the level of each individual offense, which is often determined by the value of the shoplifted property. For example, an offense involving property valued at less than $500 may be considered petty theft, which is a low-level criminal offense and a misdemeanor in Rhode Island. Thus, penalties would be constrained based on normal consequences for misdemeanors, include civil penalties.
According to RI Gen L § 11-41-20 (2013), a shoplifting conviction carries several potential penalties:
- Payment of $50.00 OR twice the full retail value of the shoplifted merchandise (not to exceed $500 total)
- Imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year (or 5 years, if previously convicted of shoplifting)
- Fines of $5,000 in addition to civil penalties (if previously convicted of shoplifting)
Consequences for First-Time Shoplifters in Rhode Island
The penalties are significantly milder for people who have not previously been accused of shoplifting. With a good defense attorney on your side, you may be able to avoid fines and jail time entirely if you are facing first-time shoplifting charges. At the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey, we know how to protect you from experiencing harsh penalties, and we may be able to help you achieve full charge dismissal or reduced sentencing.
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