Everything you need to know about shoplifting laws (about being a Robin Hood)

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If you are an activist Robin Hood type you might see good in stealing from the rich to give to the poor…there is some good in the approach but mostly, it’s against the law. There is a good chance that you know someone who has shoplifted. In fact, you may have shoplifted at some point in the past. Many people believe that shoplifting is a fun game and that you are helping someone out, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re caught shoplifting, you’re going to find yourself in big trouble. Within this guide, you will learn all about shoplifting and the associated laws.

What Is Shoplifting?

First and foremost, you should know that shoplifting is a term used to describe the theft of items from a retail establishment. It is possible to shoplift for many different establishments, including restaurants, convenience stores and big box stores. Shoplifting is often referred to as a five-finger discount and boosting. There are many forms of shoplifting, but they all usually fall under the same laws. You may believe that you’re smart enough to outwit the authorities. Nevertheless, they’ll get you at some point or another.

Legal Definitions

The legal definition of shoplifting differs from one country to the next. In the United Kingdom, it is considered as dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of depriving the other of it. Shoplifting is subject to prosecution in every state in America. Shoplifting just happens to be one of the most common crimes in the world. In America, shoplifting crimes soar higher during the Christmas season. Arrest rates climb even higher during spring break.


The punishment for shoplifting varies significantly from state to state and country to country. It is also important to understand that your current situation will likely alter your punishment. If you’ve been in trouble in the past for shoplifting, there is a good chance that you’re going to face stiffer penalties. The value of the merchandise may also impact the punishment. Trying to steal something of higher value will likely cause your punishment to be elevated to another level.

In the state of Tennessee, theft is considered a Class A misdemeanor when the value of the property of $500 or less. If the value is more than $500 but less than $1,000, the crime is increased to a Class E Felony. A Class Misdemeanor can come with a maximum punishment of 11 months and 29 days. A Class E Felony can bring a punishment of one year to less than six years in Tennessee. Again, the laws can vary from one state to the next. Larceny criminal defense lawyers will be able to help you understand the laws in your specific area.

How To Fight A Charge

If you’ve been caught shoplifting, you may be able to fight off the charge. Some cases rely heavily on witness testimony. If no video is available, witnesses will be used in court. You may be able to discredit the witness and clear your name. You should also consider negotiating a deal. Hire an attorney and attempt to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor responsible for your case. You might even be able to get the charge expunged at some point in the future!

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