Shoplifting Penalties

The penalties for shoplifting typically fall under the statutes for larceny or theft. Most states don’t have a separate and distinct shoplifting penalty.

Charged with Shoplifting? Please call (800) 763-4065.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting Penalties

Up to a certainly dollar value threshold ($250-$500 depending on the state statute) is considered petty larceny or petty theft.

Some states have multiple levels of penalties of shoplifting/theft under $1000.

Misdemeanor offenses most commonly carry with them a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, and fines that could go up to $1000.

For misdemeanor shoplifting penalties, in some states,  a judge may sentence you to community service and fines based on the amount you were convicted of stealing.  Though jail sentences are uncommon for misdemeanor shoplifting, there is always the possibility of a short jail sentence if there are aggravating factors if you get a particularly tough judge.

Felony Shoplifting Penalties

More than $500 or $1000 is usually a penalty of grand larceny, or grand theft, which is a felony level shoplifting charge.

serving jail time for multiple shoplifting convictions

Young woman serving jail time for multiple shoplifting convictions

For felony convictions, you could face state prison in addition to fines.

Some shoplifting crimes may be considered more severe if you have prior theft convictions. Your penalties will vary depending on precise state laws, the circumstances and facts of the case, and the value of the goods allegedly taken. on exactly what you did and how much you stole. Even if you just changed the price tags on items you tried to purchase, it can be considered shoplifting.


Restitution is paying back the value of the items taken, or in some cases, returning the goods, if they left the store is often a part of a sentence or a plea deal. Some states require multiples of the value of the property as fines or restitution.

Sentencing Alternatives

Many States do have sentencing alternatives for shoplifting, especially first offense shoplifting cases. There are diversion programs that can allow you to avoid criminal penalties and a potentially permanent criminal record.

If you are sent into a diversion program, you will have to complete education programs, and possibly community service, as well as strict monitoring by probation. But if you successfully complete the program, the charges against you are dropped.

That’s why it’s so important to have legal representation, if you’re facing shoplifting charges.

Please fill out the contact form to the right, and our experienced local shoplifting criminal defense attorneys will be happy to speak with you about your case.