The act of shoplifting is often taken lightly in the realm of criminal offenses, perceived by many as a frivolous and harmless crime. However, it should be taken seriously, especially in states like Colorado which make no distinction between shoplifting and other forms of theft.
Theft Laws in Colorado
In Colorado, all theft offenses including shoplifting are punishable by the general theft statute. The charges and penalties for theft are based on the value of the property involved. For example, the least serious offense is a class 1 petty offense, which is a theft of property that is less than $50. The most serious charge is a class 2 felony for a theft of property valued at $1 million or more.
Colorado Shoplifting Laws and Penalties at a Glance
In terms of legal research, an attorney's statutory analysis is the best way to understand how the law applies to you. However, it doesn't hurt to read a plain language guide to the statutes as well for a general understanding of how the law works. Read the chart below to get a better handle on Colorado's shoplifting laws.
Colorado Revised Statutes
It's unlawful for an individual to:
- Knowingly manufacture, distribute, or sell a theft detection device with the knowledge that some person intends to use it to commit a theft offense.
- Possess a theft detection device with the intent to use it or with the knowledge that some person intends to use the device to commit a theft offense.
- Knowingly deactivate or remove a theft detection device in any store prior to purchase.
Concealment of Goods
If an individual willfully conceals unpurchased goods or merchandise owned or held by and offered or displayed for sale by any store or other mercantile establishment, such concealment is sufficient to show a rebuttable presumption that the individual intended to the commit the crime of theft.
- If the property involved is less than $50: Punishable by up to 6 months incarceration, fines up to $500.
- $50 and up, less than $300: Punishable by up to 6 months jail time, fines up to $750.
- $300 and up, less than $750: Punishable by jail term of up to 1 year, fines up to $1,000.
- $750 and up, less than $2,000: Punishable by jail term of up to 1.5 years, fines up to $5,000.
- $2,000 and up, less than $5,000: Punishable by jail term of up to 1.5 years, fines up to $100,000.
- $5,000 and up, less than $20,000: Punishably by jail term of up to 3 years, fines up to $100,000.
- $20,000 and up, less than $100,000: Punishable by jail term of up to 6 years, fines up to $500,000.
- $100,000 and up, less than $1 million: Punishable by up to 12 years in prison, fines up to $750,000.
- $1million or more: Punishable by up to 24 years in prison, fines up to $1million.
No Merchant Liability
If a person triggers an alarm or theft detection device or conceals or carries away any unpurchased goods or merchandise, the merchant, employee, or peace or police officer isn't liable (civilly or criminally) for the following:
- False arrest,
- False imprisonment,
- Malicious prosecution, or
- Unlawful detention.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Colorado Shoplifting Laws and Penalties: Related Resources
Find a Colorado Attorney to Discuss Shoplifting Charges
If you've been accused of shoplifting in Colorado, don't risk a conviction without talking to a lawyer. Even if you're only facing a misdemeanor charge, the harm to your record and reputation can have a lasting impact on your life. Use FindLaw's attorney directory to find an experienced defense attorney near you.