Larceny is theft, and most larceny from a retailer in Oklahoma tends to be classified as petit larceny — or shoplifting.
Larceny from a retailer is the taking and carrying away of retail goods by fraud or stealth, with the intent to permanently deprive. OUJI-CR 5-104
Basic Differences in Larceny
Oklahoma classifies larceny as petit (small) if the value of the items is below $1,000 and the item was not stolen directly from another’s person. It is considered grand larceny if the value of the item taken is $1,000 or more, or if the item was taken directly from another’s person. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1704
The penalty for petit larceny is a fine from $10 to $500, or imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1705
In addition, Oklahoma has a specific statute regarding larceny from a retailer. The district attorney may choose to charge you under that statute if you are caught shoplifting in Okmulgee.
Larceny From a Retailer: Escalating Penalties
Most shoplifters will shoplift more than once. Oklahoma law provides escalating penalties for multiple convictions. While a first or second conviction for shoplifting from a retailer worth under $1,000 is punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail or a fine from $10 to $500, if more than one item is stolen on a first or second conviction, the possible fine increases to between $50 and $500.
A third or subsequent conviction for shoplifting under $1,000 is punishable by up to a year in county jail, or a fine up to $1,000, or both. If the property is worth $1,000 or more, a person could face up to five years in prison. If the property is worth $15,000 or more, a person could face up to eight years in prison. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1731
And if there are three or more offenses within a 90-day period, the law allows the amounts to be added together to allow increased penalties.
The Law Also Provides for Civil Actions
A retailer can sue a shoplifter in civil court for damages in addition to seeking criminal charges. If the goods are lost or damaged, the shopkeeper can get the retail value of the goods or items stolen in addition to attorney’s fees and costs. Attorney’s fees and costs by themselves can run into thousands of dollars.
In addition, the court allows punitive damages. These damages are not related specifically to the value of the item taken, but rather to the actions of the defendant. They are meant to punish and tend to be on the high side as a result.
The court can order that a defendant perform public service hours instead of punitive damages. The number of public service hours is tied to the damage caused and must fall between $50 and $500. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1731.1
If charged with larceny from a retailer, you need the help of an attorney experienced in both criminal and civil law. Your attorney can help bring the matter to resolution quickly.
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