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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  Handle criminal matters in both state and federal courts.
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Can you be charged with shoplifting when you have not left

Customer Question

Can you be charged with shoplifting when you have not left the store with any merchandise?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

Hello:

Generally, this answer is no. A common element of most, if not all, state statutes regarding shoplifting (or retail theft) is proof that the individual left the premises, or at a minimum, the last point of sale, with certain goods or items WITH the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the good or its retail value. This means that the item itself must be taken. Now, even if the item is at some point recovered, charges of retail theft can, and will, still succeed. However, if the item alleged to have been taken never went beyond the last point of sale, then shoplifting charges will generally not be successful. That being said, if someone took an item out of the packaging and left it somewhere in the store...again, WITH the intent to remove the item from the store, or pass the last point of sale, then charges can still be filed. Whether or not the prosecution will succeed is a different story. But generally, if someone walks past the last point of sale without the item or good, charges will not succeed.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions, I would be more than happy to respond to it. If not, please leave a positive review. Thank you.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

Hello

This is Samuel and I will provide you the true and correct information.

The answer is yes.

And here is the Iowa code. It states, there only needs to be an "intent" to be charged with theft/shoplifting.

714.1 THEFT DEFINED. A person commits theft when the person does any of the following: 1. Takes possession or control of the property of another, or property in the possession of another, with the intent to deprive the other thereof.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

So if some one puts an item into a pocket or purse, but did not leave the store, they can be charged.

It would be up to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had an intention to not pay for it.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

You also can review this link to see how thefts are leveled, according to the Iowa statutes.