If you have been accused of shoplifting, the charges you face will depend on the state in which the alleged act occurred. In Missouri, shoplifting is not treated as a specific crime. Rather, it is charged as a type of theft. The consequences faced after being found guilty of theft in Missouri usually depend on the value of the property stolen.
It is important that you understand the charges associated with shoplifting or other types of theft in Missouri. You should also take the time to consider how you want to defend yourself.
Shoplifting property valued at less than $150
Shoplifting property that is under $150 is seen as a minor crime. However, this does not mean that it won't have consequences. Those found guilty will be charged with a class D misdemeanor if they have no prior theft-related charges. However, if a person is found to have committed three stealing-related offenses on three separate occasions within 10 years, they will be charged with a class E felony, which will likely lead to jail time.
Shoplifting property valued at between $150 and $750
There are no penalties under Missouri statues specifically addressing commercial goods between the value of $150 and $750. However, Missouri statutes state that stealing is charged as a class A misdemeanor unless otherwise specified.
Shoplifting property valued at more than $750
Even first-time offenders who steal property over the value of $750 will face a class D felony.
There are many ways to defend yourself from a shoplifting charge. One of the most common ways to do so is to argue that you removed the item from a store by mistake. While this is entirely plausible, it can be difficult to prove.
Another way to reduce charges is to admit guilt but to dispute the value of the item taken. By showing that the value of the item was less than the value of $150, you may be able to significantly reduce your charges.
Conduct thorough research on the law before taking action to defend yourself from an allegation of shoplifting. By defending yourself aggressively, you may be able to have all charges dismissed.