What is shoplifting?
You’ve seen the signs. “Shoplifters will be prosecuted.” That is a serious threat. While some people may consider shoplifting a prank, a joke, or a thrill, it’s not. It’s a crime. In Chickasha, shoplifting is usually a misdemeanor, but it can be a felony sometimes.
The technical definition of shoplifting is larceny of merchandise from a retailer. Larceny is a form of theft that is divided into two categories: petit and grand. Petit larceny is stealing property worth less than $1,000, while grand larceny is worth more than $1,000.
What are the punishments for shoplifting?
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor, and grand larceny is a felony. When it comes to shoplifting, perpetrators are punished based on the value of the merchandise they stole. If you steal one item worth less than $500, you could spend up to 30 days in jail and/or pay a $10-$500 fine. This is the same for both a first and second conviction.
If you steal more than one item that has a combined worth of less than $500, you risk up to 30 days in jail and/or a $50-$500 fine on both your first and second conviction.
A third or subsequent conviction for either of these petit larceny charges gets you two to five years in jail.
While theft of merchandise valued between $500 and $1,000 is not quite grand larceny, it is still considered a felony. As such, it carries more severe penalties, including up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine plus restitution to the business for the stolen goods.
Grand larceny is theft of merchandise valued at $1,000 or more. It carries a sentence of one to five years in jail.
In addition to jail time and fines, business owners can sue a shoplifter for the retail price of the stolen merchandise or a percentage of the diminished value of the merchandise.
If a minor shoplifts, one or both of their parents could be sued.
Sometimes, instead of jail time, community service is ordered. Depending on the value of the merchandise that was stolen, you could spend enough time doing community service that you’d get paid $50-$500 if you were getting minimum wage. Instead of getting paid, however, the community gets free labor from you in the value of the stolen merchandise.
Once you are arrested for shoplifting, you must pay bond to be released from custody. The bond amount for the misdemeanor of petit larceny (under $50) is $100. For a petit larceny misdemeanor (between $50 and $500), it is $500. The bond amount for a grand larceny felony ($1,000+) is $1,000.
Free Consultation with a Chickasha Defense Attorney
Shoplifting gives you a criminal record that can affect your future opportunities for work, education, and housing. You could also get banned from a store where you got caught shoplifting.
You end up paying more money in fines than you would’ve spent if you had bought the merchandise instead of stealing it. Shoplifting is never a good idea. It is never worth it.
If you’re facing criminal charges for shoplifting, you need strong legal representation. The Chickasha defense attorneys at Wirth Law Office – Chickasha offer a free consultation. Call (405) 272-4100 or fill out the form at the top of this page.