What is shoplifting and their sentencing?

Shoplifting laws in California separate this charge into petty theft and grand theft. An arrest on shoplifting charges may be the result of a misunderstanding, but even if it is, you will be arrested and taken to jail. If you cannot afford to pay your bail, you will not be released from jail while your trial is going on, but there is one solution.

A bail bondsman pays your bail so that you can be released from jail. In return, you will need to pay the bail bondsman between 10% and 13% of the bail amount.

Is Shoplifting a Misdemeanor in California?

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor in California. It means that a person walked into a commercial establishment and stole an item that is worth $950 or less. The business must be open at the time of the crime. If a person enters a store while it is closed, he or she would be charged with “burglary.” The punishment for shoplifting in California depends on whether the accused is charged with petty theft or grand theft. A conviction on a charge of petty theft can mean that the judge will order the offender to pay a fine that does not exceed $1,000. In addition to that, the offender could receive a jail sentence as long as six months. In some instances, the offender receives both.

If the item is stolen was worth less than $50, the offender may be charged with an infraction or a misdemeanor that would result in a maximum $250 fine.

Is shoplifting a misdemeanor in California?

If charged as a misdemeanor, a person convicted of grand theft would receive a one-year jail sentence. If charged as a felony, the offender would receive a jail sentence between six months and three years. If the offender has prior convictions, the prosecution may recommend that the offender serve his or her time in state prison.

What Is the Law for it in California under 18?

The law for shoplifting in California under 18 states that the offender will be dealt with in the juvenile system rather than the court system. The intent is not to punish the juvenile for his or her actions. The juvenile justice system will seek to rehabilitate the juvenile. If the case is shoplifting in California’s first offense, the juvenile will be released into his or her parents’ custody.

    – Release to the Parents

Shoplifting in California’s first offense doesn’t necessarily require any more than the court issuing the juvenile a stern lecture about the dangers of shoplifting. The judge would also discuss the possibility of greater penalties if the same type of incident were to occur a second time.

    – Payment of Restitution

Sometimes, minor shoplifting charges in California can lead to the payment of restitution. An employed juvenile will be ordered to continue his employment with the purpose of paying restitution. An unemployed juvenile may be ordered to seek employment for the purpose of paying restitution.

    – Probation

Sometimes, the court orders that a juvenile receive probation. Generally, probation will last about six months. During this time, the juvenile must follow all rules and report to his probation officer on a regular basis.

   – Counseling

Juvenile shoplifting charges in California may also include counseling.

The Diversion Program

Juvenile shoplifting charges in California may lead to a diversion program. A diversion program is something like probation. For example, teens on diversion programs may be ordered to perform community service, maintain the required grade-point average or attend an education program.


If a juvenile has proven to be a repeat offender, minor shoplifting charges in California can lead to placement in a detention facility. The other possibility is a detention facility that the juvenile must attend on the weekends or a “boot-camp” program. If the juvenile’s home is unfit, the judge may place her in foster care.

Shoplifting laws in California are less stringent today than they were before November 14, 2014. That was the day that the state passed Proposition 47 that was intended to reduce the prison population. Those charged with petty theft benefited from this legislation, but anyone charged with petty theft in the future still needs to hire a criminal attorney for his defense.