What Actions Are Deemed Shoplifting in CO?

Crimes against property in the state of Colorado include things such as robbery, receiving stolen property, theft, and burglary. Shoplifting is also considered a property crime and also happens to be one of the most common.

Even a first offense of shoplifting can land you in serious legal trouble, depending on the value of the merchandise you took. Even giving the item back to the rightful owner doesn’t mean that you won’t be charged with this crime, either.

This is why it’s vital for everyone to understand what shoplifting is, how it’s perpetrated, and what types of actions law enforcement considers to be shoplifting. Keep reading to find out the answer to these questions and more.

Shoplifting Under Colorado Law

What is shoplifting in Colorado? Under the laws in the state, shoplifting is defined as intentionally stealing or taking items from an establishment that do not belong to you. The court will make the presumption that you intended to shoplift an item if you conceal it within the store before paying for it.

Other actions that are considered shoplifting in the state include:

  • Physically taking something from a store without paying for it
  • Altering a price tag, packaging, or label in order to pay less for an item, or to pay nothing at all
  • Returning something to a store that you didn’t buy so that you can get credit or money back

The Penalties for Shoplifting in Colorado

The penalties you can face in the state for shoplifting depend on the value of the merchandise that was taken. While the incident that led to the charges may be a shoplifting, you would be
charged with a theft. It breaks down into these levels:

Petty Offense

If you are convicted of shoplifting items worth $300 or less, then you can face petty theft charges. That could mean a sentence of 10 days behind bars and fines of as much as $300.

Class 2 Misdemeanor

For items valued between $300 and $1,000, you face a Class 2 misdemeanor. A conviction can send you to jail for up to 120 days and make you responsible for fines of as much as $750.

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Items valued between $1,000 and $5,000 will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor. You can spend up to one year in jail for this level of shoplifting and be ordered to pay fines of up to $1,000.

Class 6 felony

You can face a Class 6 felony in cases where you shoplift an item or items valued between $2,000 and $5,000. A conviction can lead to incarceration for up to 18 months and make you responsible to pay fines of as much as $100,000.

Class 5 Felony

Class 5 felonies are charged in cases where the items are valued between $5,000 and $20,000. If you are convicted, you can be sent to prison for up to three years and be ordered to pay fines of as much as $100,000.

Class 4 Felony

Items valued between $20,000 and $100,000 result in a Class 4 felony charge. You can be sent to prison for up to six years for this level of shoplifting and be made to pay fines of as much as $500,000.

Class 3 Felony

For items valued between $100,000 and $1 million, you face a Class 3 felony. A conviction can result in up to 12 years of incarceration and fines of as much as $750,000.

Class 2 Felony

If you shoplift items valued at $1 million or more, you can be sent to prison for up to 24 years and be made to pay fines of $1 million. It’s almost certainly impossible to steal this level of
property through shoplifting though.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.