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What are the two kinds of shoplifting charges?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2020 | Criminal Law |

For some, shopping is a therapeutic experience. For others, it can be boring, or even stressful. When you’re shopping there’s likely a lot on your mind, and you might not expect the experience to get a rather stressful bookend. Shoplifting charges are a very startling experience, whether a manager claims they have footage of you taking an item or if an employee calls you out directly in store.

While some may have stories of apologizing to store managers after being caught shoplifting by the parents, dealing with this experience as an adult is not nearly as innocent. Besides the stigma that carries across many aspects of one’s life, the punishment that can result can be immense. It depends primarily on one key factor.

The more that’s taken, the worse the charge and conviction can be

Shoplifting revolves around the idea of larceny, which is the term the justice system has given to theft. Within larceny, there are two key divisions, petit and grand.

Petit larceny: As you might be able to surmise, this kind of larceny is the most “basic” kind that involves shoplifting goods that have a value of less than $1000.

Grand larceny: Escalating into dangerous territory, in this division which revolves around larceny that breaks through the thresholds mentioned in petit.

While previously the threshold had been set at $500, it was doubled just this year. This is important to note, as many resources online may report older numbers.

The consequences that come with conviction

As mentioned in the introduction, a shoplifting conviction can weigh heavily on someone’s life. For instance, one of the key questions that often arise with a criminal conviction is the possibility of serving time in jail. First-time offenders of petit larceny may face up to a year of jail time, whereas an individual convicted of grand larceny could face up to 20.

In addition, there will also be fines to face, both in terms of what the conviction punishment will be, in addition to repaying the store for assets taken, and in incurred fees from attending court and seeking legal representation.

And it doesn’t end there. Assimilating back in society afterward, in seeking employment or even college admissions, will be difficult. Facing charges of shoplifting can turn one’s life upside down. There are resources available to help deal with the stress of such trying times, and in addition, professional counsel and services are available to help navigate the legal process and provide further guidance.