Imagine this. You get charged with shoplifting at a Denver shopping center. You plead guilty and get two years of probation. Then, a few months later, you don’t show up for a review hearing. The court puts out a warrant for your arrest, but you don’t care because you’ve already moved out of state. What are they going to do, chase you down over a shoplifting charge?
However, as Gina Marie Lefebre may learn the hard way, when there is a warrant out against you, there may be no need to “chase” you at all. Because if a cop in another state pulls you over for any reason, they can see that warrant – and you can potentially be extradited back to the state where the charges originated.
Gina Marie Lefebre – The Rest of the Story
You’ve already got the basics of Ms. Lefebre’s story, but let’s break down how she got caught – and what might happen to her now.
In February, an officer in Hanford, CA made a routine traffic stop after a driver ran a stop sign. When the officer did a check, they found a fugitive warrant for the driver out of Jefferson County, CO. Because of this discovery, the routine traffic stop led to Ms. Lefebre being booked into the Kings County Jail.
Now she is being held – without bail – pending extradition back to Colorado. If she is brought back to our state, she will not only have to face penalties related to her original charge and sentence, but she will also be up against new charges – for failure to appear.
Even worse for Lefebre, this may not be the first time she’s done something like this. According to news reports, she – or at least someone with the same name and birth date – was arrested in May of 2010 in Arizona and failed to show up for a court appearance. There is a warrant out for that failure as well.
It just goes to show you that, when you run from the law, eventually they will catch up with you – and when they do, your consequences could be far worse than they were originally. If Ms. Lefebre didn’t feel like she could serve out her sentence, a better tack would have been to work with an experienced Colorado retail theft attorney to fight back against her charges instead of pleading guilty to them.
Plenty of Ways to Battle Charges of Shoplifting in Colorado
It’s understandable to feel scared if you find yourself up against shoplifting charges. While many people see this type of crime as something that is largely “victimless” and no big deal, the lawmakers of our state are not among them. If you are convicted, penalties can be quite severe depending on the specific circumstances of your case:
For items valued at under $500.
- Charged as a Class 2 Misdemeanor.
- Three months to one year in jail.
- Fines between $250 and $1,000.
For items valued between $500 and $1,000.
- Charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
- Six to 18 months in jail.
- Fines between $500 and $5,000.
(You will also face the same charge and penalties if you tamper with theft detection devices or have tools in your possession that are used to tamper with theft detection devices.)
For items valued between $1,000 and $20,000.
- Charged as a Class 4 Felony.
- Two to six years of jail time.
- Fines between $2,000 and $500,000.
For items worth more than $20,000.
- Charged as a Class 3 Felony.
- Four to 12 years of jail time.
- Fines between $3,000 and $750,000.
Pretty big prices to pay for slipping something into your purse or jacket pocket.
Luckily, there are a number of defense strategies that skilled shoplifting lawyers understand how to use to fight your charges and protect your future. Which one is appropriate for you will depend on the facts of your case, but possible retail theft defenses that you may be able to use include:
- Lack of intent.
- Unaware of shoplifting.
- Inconsistencies in testimony.
- False accusation.
- Psychological disorders (such as kleptomania).
These strategies can be useful not just in getting your charges and penalties reduced, but may be able to help you beat them altogether.
Additionally, first time offenders living in certain areas may be able to go through pretrial diversion, where you agree to meet lesser requirements (such as going through counseling or completing community service) to avoid more serious penalties.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.