Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Shoplifting Charges in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Criminal Law » Shoplifting Charges in Iowa

In the state of Iowa, there is not a specific charge of “shoplifting” that is filed when a person is accused of stealing from a store.  Instead, charges are generally filed for the crime of Theft in violation of Iowa code section 714.1.Under Iowa’s theft statute, theft comes in different degrees depending upon the value of the property taken.


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Applied to a shoplifting accusation, a person could be charged with Theft in the 5th Degree under Iowa law if the value of the property that was allegedly stolen does not exceed $200, which is a Simple Misdemeanor.  Should the value exceed $200 but be less than $500, then the charge would be Theft in the 4th Degree, which is a Serious Misdemeanor in Iowa.  If the property value were to fall between $500 and $1,000 dollars, then a charge of Theft in the 3rd Degree would be expected, which is an Aggravated Misdemeanor.  Cases where the value is higher can result in Theft in the 2nd Degree or Theft in the 1st Degree charges, which are felonies (although such charges are rarer in shoplifting cases in Iowa).

Aside from the criminal penalties for shoplifting that is charged at theft, a serious consequence of such a conviction can be long-lasting difficulties with employment. Even the least-serious form of theft in Iowa, Theft in the fifth degree, can prevent a person from obtaining a professional license needed to become a CNA, nurse, attorney, doctor, engineer, etc.  Since an Iowa theft conviction cannot be expunged if a conviction has entered, it is important to seek a resolution for such theft cases that does not involve a conviction.

It is also important to note that a shoplifting accusation can also result in a robbery charge in the event that force or threat of force is alleged.  In Iowa shoplifting cases, that often comes about when a person is accused of pushing, hitting, or otherwise harming or threatening to harm an employee of the store who is trying to stop the alleged shoplifting.  Robbery is a serious charge in Iowa, and can result in a lengthy prison term upon conviction, which makes robbery cases especially important to property handle.


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