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The Different Levels Of Petit Theft Shoplifting

The Different Levels Of Petit Theft Shoplifting

Shoplifting, also known as petit theft shoplifting, is defined as the crime of taking goods without any intention of paying for them. For years, this crime has gone without much prosecution, unless the items stolen were worth a significant amount of money. In recent years, however, with the economy in such turmoil, business owners have developed a new attitude towards theft, and want to make a lesson to the thieves whenever they can.

Why Has It Become So Serious?

With the economy not being what it should be and so many people out of work, the number of petit theft shoplifting crimes is skyrocketing. Add that to the fact that a lot of businesses are also suffering in terms of the economy, and it becomes no surprise that many owners are now more willing to prosecute for petty theft than they ever had been in the past. Even though, statistically, more incidents of shoplifting is being done by their own employees than by outsiders, business owners are trying to teach those that would steal a serious lesson, in hopes of deterring more crimes from occurring.

Misdemeanor Petty Theft

Shoplifting is considered to be a crime of opportunity, one borne out of economic need more than any other reason. Under criminal law, if the dollar value of an item taken in this fashion is less than $400, it is considered to be a misdemeanor, and can still be prosecuted. If found guilty, the person committing it could face up to six months in jail and levied fines for as much as $50 to upwards of a thousand, a serious punishment if the item stolen was, say, a three dollar package of baloney.

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Grand Theft

Shoplifting can be easily escalated in the seriousness of the charge is the dollar value of the item stolen is more than $400. They can then be charged with grand theft, as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances, and the past criminal history of a defendant. In states that still carry the third strike law, this can easily turn very serious if the person charged has a history of such theft. This would mean that they are facing at minimum a year in jail, or more, in addition to fines that could be levied as well.


Infractions concerning petit theft shoplifting occur when the dollar amount is less than $250, if the prosecution decides to go with that charge. This is usually applied only to items worth less than $50 and is judged on a case by case basis. Infractions carry fewer fines and the person charged might be able to get off with probation, again depending upon any past criminal history. For all of these charges, the best defense is a good lawyer, one who is adept at creating plausible defenses against the prosecution’s theory of intent.