Shoplifting Law

Shoplifting Attorney RI

Rhode Island’s Shoplifting Law R.I.G.L. §11-41-20

Shoplifting is a larceny that occurs inside of a retail store. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor in Rhode Island unless you have been convicted of a prior shoplifting offense which it would then be a felony. If you are charged with the crime of larceny, then you need the expertise of Attorney Peter Calo to best represent you and your rights.

Specific Intent Crime

Because Shoplifting is a form of larceny, it is categorized as a specific intent crime. Therefore, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person stole the item with the intent to permanently deprive the store of that item. Also, because it is a form of larceny, the person does not actually have to leave the store with the item to be guilty of larceny. Picking up the item with the intent to permanently deprive with store of the item (without paying for it) will suffice for the shoplifting charge. Of course, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that the person took the item with the intent to permanently deprive.

Prima Facie Case

In law, a prima facie case is one that “on its face” meets the elements of the crime. It means that evidence, unless rebutted, is sufficient enough to prove the case. In the case of shoplifting, the statute delineates a specific prima facie case. If someone takes an item from a store and goes past all points of purchase without paying for the item, that is a prima facie case of shoplifting.


Shoplifting is classified as a misdemeanor in Rhode Island. However, if one has been convicted of shoplifting in the past there is the possibility of the second offense being a felony. Because the penalty for shoplifting, regardless of it is a misdemeanor or felony, is serious, you need an experienced attorney like Peter Calo to represent you and your rights. Contact him today for a free consultation.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting

  • Up to One Year in Prison and/or
  • A fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) or two times the full retail value of the merchandise, whichever is greater, but not more than five hundred dollars ($500)

Felony Shoplifting (Second Offense)

  • Up to Five Years in Prison and/or
  • Up to $5000 Dollar Fine