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Shoplifting, Stealing or Theft

Call criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for help with your stealing, shoplifting, or theft charges.

Penalties for Shoplifting, Stealing or Theft

If criminal charges have been filed against you for shoplifting, stealing, petty larceny, or theft of an item worth less than $500, that is a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for misdemeanor stealing in Missouri is 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

When is Stealing Considered a Felony?

If the value of the item you stole is $500 or more, you can be charged with felony stealing.  The maximum penalty for felony stealing in Missouri is 7 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

If you have 2 prior convictions for misdemeanor stealing on your criminal record within the past 10 years and you are caught stealing again, the third misdemeanor charge for shoplifting or stealing can be charged as a felony. 

Shoplifting, Stealing, or Theft Charges Can be Reduced to a Lesser Offense

Charges for shoplifting, stealing, theft, or petty larceny can often be dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge, such as “Littering,” depending on the value of what was alleged to have been stolen, and other details of the arrest. You can be charged with petty theft, misdemeanor shoplifting, or felony stealing.

If you plead guilty to shoplifting, stealing, larceny, or theft, that conviction will remain on your criminal record forever and can never be removed. Convictions for stealing can prevent you from getting a job or obtaining a loan. Consult an attorney who has experience handling charges involving stealing before you plead guilty.

If Shoplifting Charges Are Reduced, What Sentence Will You Receive?

If you hire an attorney to represent you in court on shoplifting charges, your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecuting attorney to have your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. If you have prior convictions for stealing, the court may be less willing to reduce the charges.

If the prosecutor agrees to reduce the shoplifting charges, then you will have to pay a fine and court costs, re-pay the victim or return the item that was stolen, and in some cases you may also have to complete a certain number of hours of community service, take a court-ordered class, or serve time on probation (usually it’s unsupervised probation) for a limited period of time.

What Did You Steal?

The nature of what you are accused of stealing is taken into consideration when the prosecutor recommends sentencing. For example, if you stole baby food or diapers for your baby, the prosecutor might be more lenient. But if you stole a bottle of alcohol, you may be required to attend a SATOP (Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program) class for alcohol-related offenders.

In Addition to Criminal Shoplifting Charges, You May Also Face Civil Theft Charges

It is common for a store to send you a letter demanding that you pay an additional fee of $100 to $250 to reimburse the store for the costs it incurred because of your alleged shoplifting, such as the cost to hire security personnel, or for investigating the theft.

Legally, the store is allowed to sue you in civil court in Missouri for up to $250. But until the store sues you and wins a judgment against you in court, you don't owe the store anything. And whether or not you pay the civil demand will have no effect on the criminal case against you.

Contact an attorney before you pay any civil demand from a store that has accused you of shoplifting.

If you have been charged with shoplifting or stealing, call St. Louis attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 to discuss your case and get a price quote. Or click on the email icon at the top of this page to send an email to