People may think that shoplifting is a “victimless” crime, but the law doesn’t see it that way. Shoplifting is theft, and theft is theft whether it’s a scarf from Belk or a scarf from a woman’s handbag. In our last post, we talked about the different types of shoplifting. Here, we promised to talk about the penalties for “concealment.”
Remember, North Carolina works with structured sentencing, so the penalty depends on the severity of the crime and whether the offender has been convicted of the crime before. With shoplifting, a first offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor and requires up to 10 days in jail. The court can suspend the sentence and require 24 hours of community service instead.
A second offense committed no more than three years before the current charge is a Class 2 misdemeanor. An offender can spend up to 15 days in jail if the court does not suspend the sentence. Suspension means 72 hours (3 days) in jail or 72 hours of community service; the court may also sentence the offender to both.
If the offender has more than two prior shoplifting convictions during the last five years, the charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is 20 days. A suspension here also means jail time — at least 11 days — unless the offender can prove that he or she is unable to serve the sentence because of a mental or physical infirmity. If that’s the case, the judge can reduce the sentence as he or she sees fit.
There are a few more considerations, though, and we’ll get into that in our next post.