New Hampshire's Shoplifting and Willful Concealment Law by New Hampshire Lawyer Mark Stevens 603-893-0074

Hello everyone,

Today's topic is off the beaten DWI path, but it is important due to the rise in instances of shoplifting allegations that flow in part from a worsening economy. More and more accusations of shoplifting and "willful concealment", which involves concealing merchandise or goods while on the premises of a store, are being lodged against people in New Hampshire than usual. Below you will find the text of New Hampshire's shoplifting law, which defines both the crimes of willful concealment and shoplifting under New Hampshire's law, RSA 644:17. Here is the law:

CHAPTER 644 Breaches of the Peace and Related Offenses

RSA 644:17 (2008)

644:17 Willful Concealment and Shoplifting.

I. A person is guilty of willful concealment if, without authority, he willfully conceals the goods or merchandise of any store while still upon the premises of such store. Goods or merchandise found concealed upon the person shall be prima facie evidence of willful concealment.

II. A person is guilty of shoplifting if, with the purpose of depriving a merchant of goods or merchandise, he knowingly:

(a) Removes goods or merchandise from the premises of a merchant; or

(b) Alters, transfers, or removes any price marking affixed to goods or merchandise; or

(c) Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant's stated or advertised price for the goods or merchandise; or

(d) Transfers goods or merchandise from the container in which such goods or merchandise were intended to be sold to another container.

III. As used in this section:

(a) "Merchant" means the owner or operator of any place of business where merchandise is displayed, held, or stored, for sale to the public, or any agent or employee of such owner or operator.

(b) "Purpose to deprive" means to have the conscious object to appropriate the goods or merchandise of a merchant without paying the merchant's stated or advertised price.

IV. Willful concealment shall be a misdemeanor. The penalty for shoplifting shall depend on the value of the property, as provided in RSA 637:11. As used in this section, "value" shall be determined in accordance with RSA 637:2, V.

NOTE: Because the "value" is often contested because it can be determinative of the potential punishment upon conviction, I have also included here the statutory definition of "value" for the purposes of this law, which is found in the New Hampshire laws at RSA 637:2 V:

V. "Value" means the highest amount determined by any reasonable standard of property or services.

(a) Amounts involved in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(b) The value of property or services obtained by the actor shall determine the grade of the offense, and such value shall not be offset against or reduced by the value of any property or services given by the actor in exchange.

(c) Each personal check or credit card shall have a value of $250.

Shoplifting and "willful concealment" are serious charges and it may be wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved on is under suspicion of one of these charges.

Have a safe weekend,

Mark Stevens
Salem, NH 03079




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1 comment:

  1. so if some one succeeds in stealing some thing that is "shoplifting" and if they get caught inside the store that is "concealment"?