If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, you may have many questions. You may wonder if shoplifting is a felony or misdemeanor; what kind of fines you’ll face; what happens if you have a prior drug paraphernalia conviction; and what if this is a first-time offense. It’s important to get the answers to these questions from an experienced, skilled criminal defense team. 

Shoplifting Can Be a Misdemeanor or Felony

Depending on the circumstances and certain factors, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Here is information you need to know about both charges:

Felony Shoplifting

  • If the value of the shoplifted property is $2,000 or more, it’s a class 5 felony.
  • If the shoplifting was done to “promote, further, or assist any criminal street gang,” it’s a class 5 felony. Shoplifting property with a value of $1,000 to $2,000 is a class 6 felony.
  • If you shoplift a firearm, it is generally a class 6 felony, regardless of value.
  • If you use an artifice, instrument, container, device, or other article with the intent to facilitate shoplifting, it’s a class 4 felony.
  • If you commit shoplifting and have previously committed or been convicted within the past five years of two or more offenses involving burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft, or theft, it’s a class 4 felony.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting

Shoplifting property valued at less than $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor.

First-Time Shoplifting

Even if you have a prior drug paraphernalia conviction, the first time you’re charged with shoplifting will be considered a first-time offense. However, be aware that if you have committed burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft, or theft, within the past five years, it’s not considered a first-time offense.

Fines and Jail

Punishment for shoplifting obviously depends on whether it’s a felony (and what class) or whether it’s a misdemeanor.

A typical run-of-the-mill, first-time shoplifting offense, under $1,000 and a class 1 misdemeanor, can have fines up to $2,500 (plus surcharge) and up to six months in jail, in addition to paying restitution. Sentencing, however, depends on many factors, and a lawyer can help you. You have the right to hire an attorney whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony case.