Punishments for Shoplifting

Shoplifting is considered a form of theft, meaning that is can be either a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the value of the stolen items. Shoplifting, in particular, occurs when an individual does not pay a store the full value of an item.

This means that in addition to stealing an item outright, changing the price of an item is also considered shoplifting and may be punishable. Shoplifting is a crime of intent, so individuals wishing to make a successful defense may have to prove that they unknowingly shoplifted.

Examples of Shoplifting

Shoplifting, in the most common form, refers to taking an item from a store without paying for it. For example, an individual may be guilty of shoplifting when he or she goes into a clothing store, tries on a shirt, and walks out the door with it and keeps it.

Another example is deliberately underpaying for an item. This includes switching price tags or writing different prices on items. In this way, shoplifters deceive shop owners and workers into believing that they have paid the full price of these items.

Penalties for Shoplifting

The penalties for shoplifting usually fall in line with the penalties for theft in general. In most states, the general levels of shoplifting are:

  • Up to $500 stolen – petty theft, which is a misdemeanor
  • Greater than $500 – grand theft, which may be a felony

Some shoplifting crimes may be considered more severe if you have prior theft convictions. Additionally, the shoplifting levels vary by state, so the specific crime with which you charged may differ from what is above.

Generally, individuals convicted of misdemeanor shoplifting will face community service and fines, with the possibility of a short sentence in county jail. For felony convictions, individuals may face state prison in addition to fines.

Contact Us

When you have been charged with shoplifting, you may be able to prove your innocence or receive a more favorable sentencing with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Dallas criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter at (214) 845-7007 for more information.


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