So you got busted for shoplifting…

Question: What are the fines and punishment for shoplifting? What if I have a prior drug paraphernalia conviction, is this still a first-time offense? Is shoplifting a felony or a misdemeanor? Help!

Ryan’s Answer: First, it’s important to know that shoplifting
can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on certain factors. Here’s the rundown for you:


  • 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.
  • Shoplifting a firearm 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 5 years of 2 or more offenses involving burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft or theft, it’s a class 4 felony.


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

First Time Shoplifting

Yes this is a “first time” shoplifting offense, if all you have is a prior drug paraphernalia conviction. Just be aware that if you have committed burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft or theft, within the past 5 years, then it’s not a first time offense.

Fines and Jail

Punishment 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, under $1,000, class 1 misdemeanor, can have fines up to $2,500 (plus surcharge) and up to 6 months 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 to defend you whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony case. This was just a summary of relevant information. There’s more information you may need, but I hope what I’ve laid out for you is educational.

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