Shoplifting as Petit Larceny
In Oklahoma, petit larceny is defined as all larceny that doesn’t qualify as grand larceny. Shoplifting could be charged as petit larceny or grand larceny, depending on the value of stolen merchandise. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1704.
In order to understand what petit larceny is in Oklahoma, you must know what grand larceny it. In Oklahoma, grand larceny is defined as the taking of property worth more than $1000, or property of any value if taken from the person of another. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1704. Most shoplifting charges are for property worth less than $1000 and so, are considered to be petit larceny.
Larceny of merchandise from a retailer, or shoplifting, is treated a bit differently than regular larceny in Oklahoma. A first or second conviction for shoplifting from a retailer worth less than $1000 will be punished by up to 30 days in the county jail and/or a fine ranging from $10 to $500. If more than one item is stolen on a first or second conviction, the possible fine increases to between $50 and $500.
The amount of jail time for shoplifiting is the same as any other petite larceny, at up to 30 days. The penalties increase with subsequent convictions. A third or subsequent conviction for shoplifting an item worth less than $1,000 is punishable by up to a year in county jail and/or a fine up to $1000. If the property is worth $1000 or more, the perpetrator could face up to 5 years in prison. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1731.
In addition, Oklahoma law provides for civil actions against shoplifters in addition to criminal charges. Oklahoma statute provides that a shop owner may sue the shoplifter in civil court for the retail price of the goods stolen if they are unsalable as a result of the crime or for a percentage of the diminished value of the merchandise plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
A civil action can be brought against an adult who commits the shoplifting as well as against the parent of a minor to commits the shoplifting offense. In addition, the court allows punitive damages. Public service can be ordered in lieu of exemplary damages. The public service ordered must satisfy the damages assessed by the court at the federal minimum wage level, and must fall between $50 and $500. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1731.1.
A merchant may pursue both civil and criminal penalties against the perpetrator. The court may also order restitution. However, the merchant cannot double-dip, meaning that the merchant cannot recover twice the value of the goods stolen. Paying punitive damages and a merchant’s attorneys’ fees can make this an expensive matter to for a person civilly sued for shoplifting.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Defense Lawyer
A shoplifting conviction can be costly. A person who shoplifts, exposes themself to criminal and civil charges, along with possible financial loss. These losses can devastate your life. Retain an experienced Tulsa defense lawyer who will work hard to protect you.
Wirth Law Office’s Tulsa criminal defense lawyers offer free initial consultations so we can learn the facts of a case and offer realistic suggestions about how a matter might be resolved. Call the Wirth Law Office at (918) 879-1681 (or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law) or submit the question form at the top right of this page.