People often make the mistake of viewing a shoplifting charge as something that is not a serious criminal offense. While that may have been true once upon a time, it is no longer true today. The days of a shop owner calling little Jack’s parents because he tried to walk out with some candy stuffed in his coat pocket are long gone. For one thing, the corner store is now Walmart, Target, or another mega superstore that is about as impersonal as it gets. Second, they hire an entire team of loss prevention officers who do nothing but look for shoplifters. You can rest assured they have heard every sob story in the book, meaning they are unlikely to let you go without actually pressing charges. Finally, any conviction on your criminal history that is theft-related can cause you problems obtaining employment for the rest of your life. With all of this in mind, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with a Cass County criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with shoplifting in the county.
What Qualifies as “Shoplifting” in Nebraska?
Like most states, Nebraska classifies shoplifting as a type of theft. Specifically, Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-511.01 defines the criminal offense of shoplifting as follows:
A person commits the crime of theft by shoplifting when he or she, with the intent of appropriating goods or merchandise to his or her own use without paying for the goods or merchandise or to deprive the owner of possession of such goods or merchandise or its retail value, in whole or in part, does any of the following:
(a) Conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment;
(b) Alters the price tag or other price marking on goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment;
(c) Transfers the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment from one container to another;
(d) Interchanges the label or price tag from one item of a good or of merchandise with a label or price tag for another item of a good or of merchandise;
(e) Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the retail price of the goods or merchandise; or
(f) Alters, bypasses, disables, shields, or removes any security or alarm device attached to or housing any goods or merchandise of any store, including the use or possession of a security device countermeasure as defined in section 28-511.03, prior to purchase of the goods or merchandise.
What Penalties Do You Face If Convicted of Shoplifting in Nebraska?
The judicial penalties you face if convicted of shoplifting in Nebraska will depend on the value of the goods or merchandise involved.
- Goods valued at under $200 with no prior convictions – Class II misdemeanor, up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine
- Goods valued at under $200 with one prior conviction – Class I misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000
- Goods valued at under $200 with 3 or more prior convictions – Class IV felony, up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,00
- Goods valued between $200 -$500 no prior conviction – Class I misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000
- Goods valued between $200-$500 with one prior conviction – Class IV felony, up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- Goods valued between $500-$1500 – Class IV felony, up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- Goods valued at $1500 or more – Class III felony, up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000
How Can a Cass County Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
Although the judicial penalties can be serious, the non-judicial consequences of a shoplifting conviction can be even more serious. In the 21st century, employers of all types routinely do background checks before even considering hiring a job applicant. You can’t even get hired at a fast-food restaurant or a gas station without passing a background check anymore – and a theft conviction, even a misdemeanor shoplifting charge – will almost always disqualify you for the job because employers see that as an indication of your dishonesty. Therefore, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Cass County criminal defense lawyer to find out if you have a defense that will prevent a conviction and/or if there is a diversion program available that will ultimately result in a dismissal of the charges against you upon successful completion.
If you have been charged with shoplifting in the State of Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer right away. In Nebraska, contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.