There are also civil liabilities that apply to shoplifting. These are covered by 21 O.S. § 1731.1. If you shoplifted, then you’re liable in a civil action for either: 1) the retail price of the merchandise if it is unsalable or 2) the percentage of the diminished value of the merchandise due to the conversion—together with attorney fees and court costs.
The parent or legal guardian having custody of an unemancipated minor who shoplifts is liable in a civil action for either: 1) the retail price of the merchandise if it is unsalable or 2) the percentage of the diminished value of the merchandise due to the conversion—plus attorney fees and court costs.
An adult, emancipated minor, or unemancipated minor against whom judgment is rendered for shoplifting may also be required to pay exemplary damages. In lieu of the exemplary damages, any adult, emancipated minor, or unemancipated minor against whom a judgment for exemplary damages has been rendered may be required to perform public services designated by the court.
The provisions of the shoplifting statute are in addition to criminal penalties and other civil remedies. There is limitation on merchants or other persons from electing to pursue criminal penalties and other civil remedies, so long as a double recovery does not result. The law does not limit merchants from pursuing both civil and criminal remedies. You can be charged by both the state as well as have a pending civil case by the merchant; however, the merchant will not be entitled to no more than the amount that was stolen. If the merchant wins in civil court and you are also ordered to pay restitution by the criminal court, then you will only have to pay the merchant up to the value of the goods you shoplifted. Note that you can win your criminal case yet still have to pay restitution. This is because the merchant can still go after you in civil court. The burden of proof is much lower in a civil court than it is in a criminal court. The civil action for this must commence within two years after the violation occurred.
SOURCE: 21 O.S. § 1731.1
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Current as of: November 20, 2017