Shoplifting is defined by the state of California as any attempt to steal something from a place of business during normal operating hours, the value of which does not exceed $950. Shoplifting is either classified as an infraction or a misdemeanor depending on the value of that which was stolen or targeted. A shoplifting conviction can result in both fines and incarceration. In addition to the criminal charges brought against them, individuals accused of shoplifting often face civil penalties as well.
For a first-time shoplifting offense of something valued at less than $50, the resulting fine is $250. For items valued between $50 and $950, the maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Any civil damages awarded are in excess of these fines.
Pretrial diversion programs may be available if:
- The accused is a first-time offender
- The value of the stolen goods was relatively low
- The defendant is willing to complete community service and make restitution