Shoplifting is among one of the more commonly prosecuted criminal offenses. Whether criminal charges result from genuine mistakes, mistaken identity, or any other reason, individuals who stand accused should be aware that convictions are not without their consequences. Aside from various criminal penalties, a shoplifting conviction can pose long-term repercussion. Having a conviction on one's record means that prospective employers, schools, landlords, and others who conduct background checks can see that a person has been convicted of a theft crime in the past.
In any situation, shoplifting occurs when an individual takes property belonging to a retailer without paying. Shoplifting does not just refer to taking an item off a shelf; it can also include other forms of deceit, such as removing or switching price tags or security devices.
Depending on the circumstances involved – particularly the value of the property allegedly stolen and an individual's criminal record – charges and penalties can be elevated. Penalties may range as follows:
- Property less than $500 – Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Property between $500 and $25,000 – Class C felony punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.
Again, individuals who have been convicted of theft crimes in the past can face enhanced penalties for shoplifting, including longer terms of imprisonment and larger fines. Other penalties may include probation and community service.
At The Hammer Law Firm, LLC, our St. Louis criminal defense attorneys have represented clients from all walks of life who have been charged with theft crimes, including shoplifting. We are prepared to investigate all circumstances surrounding an arrest to help our clients explore their options. In certain cases, individuals facing these allegations may be eligible for diversion or restorative justice programs as an alternative to traditional penalties and convictions. These options are typically reserved for certain first-time offenders.
If you or your loved one is currently facing charges for shoplifting, a proven St. Louis criminal defense lawyer from our firm is prepared to guide you step-by-step through the legal process. Allow a member from our legal team to review your case by completing a free case evaluation form.