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Offered by Brighton Attorney Gregory R. McMahon

Everyone is well aware of the very serious criminal consequences of being arrested for shoplifting or theft. You could face jail time, serious fines, and court costs; also, you could be ordered to perform what is known as Useful Public Service (UPS). UPS is when the court orders you to perform a certain number of hours working for a nonprofit organization without you receiving any compensation whatsoever.

What many people are not aware of is that there is a Colorado Statute (13-21-107.5) that allows the merchant to fi le a separate civil law suit against you for up to $250. The merchant can sue you even if all the merchandise was recovered or you paid full restitution. As an example, if you are caught stealing even a very small amount of merchandise, you face the possibility of having to pay $250 on top of all the criminal consequences. As a defense attorney, I can tell you that there are many law firms out there that specialize in these types of civil law suits.

To make a bad situation even worse, many large merchants can also file a “no trespass order” against you. The ramifi cations of that are significant as this “no trespass order” essentially bans you from ever entering ANY of their stores for the rest of your life. If you defy this “no trespass order” and show up on the merchant’s property, you will face immediate arrest even if you have done nothing wrong. You could be arrested simply for pulling into the parking lot.

The information in this column is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Greg for the Defense