What is it like to be caught shoplifting

Shoplifting can be punished with imprisonment

Whether lipstick, chocolate bar or DVD: Anyone caught stealing cannot avoid being punished. On which factors the sentence depends.

© dpa

Quickly let a camera go with you - that can have consequences.

Anyone caught shoplifting must expect unpleasant consequences. “As a rule, criminal proceedings always follow,” explains lawyer Christian Schmitz from Cologne. How high the penalty will be in the end depends on various factors.

What does the penalty for shoplifting depend on?

The punishment following a shoplifting varies: "It depends, for example, on whether it is the first offense," says the member of the Criminal Law Working Group in the German Lawyers' Association (DAV). But the age of the perpetrator or the value of the goods can also play a role.

What are the penalties for shoplifting?

"The range of punishment is incredibly wide," says Schmitz. In the event of theft, it ranges from a fine to a prison sentence of up to five years. An example: If someone is caught letting a candy bar go with them in a supermarket, the case is usually reported. "If it was the first misconduct, the proceedings will probably be discontinued," explains Schmitz.

Is a penalty warrant issued for every shoplifting?

It can look different if it wasn't the first act. If the person has already been caught several times, a penalty can be imposed under certain circumstances, even for less valuable goods. "Anyone who persistently disregards the rules must expect sanctions at some point," says Schmitz. For example, a fine would be conceivable. Even if the stolen property is particularly expensive, a penalty order may be issued.

What role does the age of the shoplifter play?

Age also makes a difference. “The age of criminal responsibility begins from 14 years”, explains the lawyer. Juvenile criminal law is applied up to the age of 18, penalties are usually milder. "The juvenile criminal law is not designed for punishment, but for education," explains the lawyer. Between the ages of 18 and 21 it depends on the maturity of the adolescent whether juvenile justice is applied. Adult criminal law applies from the 21st birthday.

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Source: dpa

| Updated: Thursday March 29, 2018 3:06 PM

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