Actions:  HCEDC/HJC-HCEDC  DP/a-HJC  DNP-CS/DP  PASSED/H (62-3)  SJC/SFC-SJC  DP/a-SFC- DP  PASSED/S (38-0)  h/cncrd SGND BY GOV (Apr. 6) Ch.194.
Scheduled: Not Scheduled
House Bill 234 (HB 234) relates to crime and amends the elements of robbery, creates the crime of organized retail crime, and adds organized retail crime to the definition of racketeering.Legislation Overview:
House Bill 234 (HB 234) makes the following changes to the Criminal Code: 1. Amends the crime of robbery so that it also includes the use or threatened use of force or violence to retain anything of value stolen from another person or to effect an escape from the scene of a theft. 2. Amends the crime of shoplifting to include the ability for a prosecutor to charge for different incidents of shoplifting separately or jointly based on an aggregated retail market value for merchandise stolen by an individual within a 90-day period. 3. Enacts a new section of the Criminal Code that creates the second-degree felony offense of “Organized Retail Crime.” This crime can occur when a person does one of four things: 1) acts in concert with another to steal merchandise with a value of $2,500 or more over the span of one year with the intent to sell, exchange or return the merchandise for value; 2) acts in concert with another to receive, purchase or possess merchandise with a value of $2,500 or more over the span of one year, knowing it to have been stolen; 3) acts as an agent to steal merchandise with a value of $2,500 or more over the span of one year as part of an organized plan to commit theft; or 4) recruits or organizes another to undertake the above acts or any other crime of theft of merchandise. 4. Amends the Racketeering Act to include organized retail crime as a basis for a racketeering charge. Racketeering is any act that is chargeable under the laws of New Mexico and punishable for imprisonment for more than one year, involving certain listed offenses. 5. The bill defines “aggregated retail market value” as the total value of all merchandise involved at the price it would ordinarily be sold by the retailer. A “retailer” is defined as a person or business that sells or facilitates the sale of merchandise to the public for use or consumption, rather than for resale.Current Law:
If HB 234 does not pass, the crime of organized retail crime will not exist, but certain actions against retailers may still be prosecuted under current shoplifting or larceny statutes, and the current crimes of robbery, shoplifting and racketeering will remain the same.Amendments:
On March 14, 2023, the Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill by amending how aggravated shoplifting is committed. It is committed by assaulting or striking another with a deadly weapon immediately after an act of shoplifting in order to retain possession of stolen property or to effect an escape from the scene of an act of shoplifting. On February 3, 2023, the House Commerce & Economic Development Committee amended HB 234 by amending the short title of the bill to reflect that it amends the elements of shoplifting.Committee Substitute:
The House Judiciary Committee Substitute for HB 234 (HJC CS/HB 234) amends the crime of shoplifting and creates the crimes of “aggravated shoplifting” and “organized retail crime.” First, it amends the crime of shoplifting to provide that a shoplifting charge is based on the “aggregated retail market value” that was stolen from a single retailer at a single location. If a person shoplifts more than once over a 90-day period (either at the same or multiple retailers), the person may be charged based on either the aggregated retail market value of the merchandise stolen from a single retailer, or in a single charge based on the total value of the merchandise shoplifted. Second, it creates the crime of “aggravated shoplifting,” which is when a person assaults another with a deadly weapon while shoplifting or avoiding apprehension. It is a third-degree felony. Third, it creates the second-degree felony offense of “organized retail crime.” This crime is committed when a person acts in concert with another to steal/receive/ purchase/possess merchandise, knowing it has been stolen, and the merchandise has an aggregated retail market value over $2,500 over the span of one year. It can also be committed if a person recruits/manages another to undertake these acts or any other crime involving theft of merchandise. A person cannot be charged with both shoplifting and organized retail crime. HJC CS/HB 234 defines “aggregated retail market value” as the total combined value of all the merchandise involved and “retailer” as a person/business that sells merchandise to the public, and not for resale. Venue is proper in any county where the merchandise was stolen.