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What is shoplifting?

Most Oregon residents stop into a store from time to time to do some shopping. In these cases, it can be easy for someone to grab something from the store and inadvertently forget to pay. People can also intentionally leave with items. In these cases, people can face misdemeanor charges for shoplifting. These charges can result in damage to a person's reputation, jail time, fines, restitution and more. These penalties can interfere with a person's life.

Whether they are in a grocery store, clothing store or electronics, people may wonder what constitutes shoplifting. In general, the location does not matter when it comes to shoplifting. Instead, shoplifting charges generally focus on a person's intent. In most cases, in order for something to be shoplifting, the person must have intended to deprive the owner of possession of the item permanently without paying. Furthermore, the person must take or willfully conceal an item being offered for sale.

Under this definition of shoplifting, you can be charged with shoplifting even before you have left the store. Hiding merchandize can be enough evidence that you intended to deprive the owner of possession over the item. Furthermore, altering tags, changing packages or manipulating items to avoid paying full price is also considered shoplifting under many state laws.

While this blog post cannot provide legal advice about a specific incident, the penalties for shoplifting can vary. In most situations, the penalties will depend on the specific charges that a person faces and the charges often depend on the value of the item stolen. By seeking legal advice, those facing charges for shoplifting can learn more about the potential punishments and defenses available to them.

Source:, "Shoplifting," accessed Aug. 31, 2014

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