The state of Delaware views shoplifting, a crime commonly committed by minors, a very serious offense. If convicted, the charge can follow you around for many years and effect your employability and your academic status among other things. If you, or your child, have been arrested for shoplifting in the state of Delaware you should speak with a New Castle County Delaware Criminal Lawyer at once.
Delaware Shoplifting Laws
§ 840. Shoplifting; class G felony; class A misdemeanor.
(a) A person is guilty of shoplifting if, while in a mercantile establishment in which goods, wares or merchandise are displayed for sale, the person:
(1) Removes any such goods, wares or merchandise from the immediate use of display or from any other place within the establishment, with intent to appropriate the same to the use of the person so taking, or to deprive the owner of the use, the value or possession thereof without paying to the owner the value thereof; or
(2) Obtains possession of any goods, wares or merchandise by charging the same to any person without the authority of such person or to a fictitious person with a like intent; or
(3) Conceals any such goods, wares or merchandise with like intent; or
(4) Alters, removes or otherwise disfigures any label, price tag or marking upon any such goods, wares or merchandise with a like intent; or
(5) Transfers any goods, wares or merchandise from a container in which same shall be displayed or packaged to any other container with like intent; or
(6) Uses any instrument whatsoever, credit slips or chose in action to obtain any goods, wares or merchandise with intent to appropriate the same to the use of the person so taking or to deprive the owner of the use, the value or the possession thereof without paying to the owner the value thereof.
(b) Any person willfully concealing unpurchased merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, inside or outside the premises of such store or other mercantile establishment, shall be presumed to have so concealed such merchandise with the intention of converting the same to the person’s own use without paying the purchase price thereof within the meaning of subsection (a) of this section, and the finding of such merchandise concealed upon the person or among the belongings of such person, outside of such store or other mercantile establishment, shall be presumptive evidence of intentional concealment; and if such person conceals or causes to be concealed such merchandise upon the person or among the belongings of another, the finding of the same shall also be presumptive evidence of intentional concealment on the part of the person so concealing such merchandise.
(c) A merchant, a store supervisor, agent or employee of the merchant 18 years of age or older, who has probable cause for believing that a person has intentionally concealed unpurchased merchandise or has committed shoplifting as defined in subsection (a) of this section, may, for the purpose of summoning a law-enforcement officer, take the person into custody and detain the person in a reasonable manner on the premises for a reasonable time.
(d) A merchant, a store supervisor, agent or employee of the merchant 18 years of age or older who detains, or a merchant, a store supervisor, agent or employee of the merchant who causes or provides information leading to the arrest of any person under subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section, shall not be held civilly or criminally liable for such detention or arrest provided they had, at the time of such detention or arrest, probable cause to believe that the person committed the crime of shoplifting as defined in subsection (a) of this section.
Shoplifting is a class G felony when the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are of the value of $1,500 or more, or when the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are from 3 or more separate mercantile establishments and were shoplifted in the same or continuing course of conduct and the aggregate value of the goods is $1,500 or more. When the goods, wares or merchandise shoplifted are of the value of less than $1,500, it is a class A misdemeanor.
Delaware Shoplifting Defense
Many times in a shoplifting case you are caught committing the crime on video or via surveillance camera. That does not mean that you should automatically plead guilty or face the charge alone. A skilled Newark Delaware Criminal Lawyer will devise a sound and logical strategy in an effort to lessen the charges or work out a favorable plea with the prosecution. As your attorney I promise to get to know you as well as the details of your case. I will reiterate to the prosecution that you are a good person and may have just suffered a lapse in judgment.
Also, many times shoplifting charges may be coupled with other charges such as being caught in possession of drugs or alcohol. If that is the case I will attempt to leverage those additional charges in an effort to obtain you the most favorable outcome possible.
Contact a Middletown County Delaware Shoplifting Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Call me, Newark Delaware Criminal Defense Attorney Brian J. Chapman at 302-656-2528. You can also email Dover Delaware Shoplifting Defense Attorney Brian J. Chapman here. I have an in depth knowledge of Delaware Shoplifting laws as well as how the legal system works. Let me fight for your rights!
I routinely handle all juvenile defense and criminal cases in New Castle County, Kent County, Delaware and Sussex County, Delaware including: Wilmington, Newark, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Harrington, Millsboro, Milton, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island, Laurel, Delmar and Seaford.