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Are shoplifting and petty theft misdemeanors?

If you've shoplifted in the state of California, you may be wondering what conviction you could be facing. Petty thefts are considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony, but is all shoplifting categorized as petty theft?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines shoplifting as the act of stealing any item from a store. This covers everything from cigarettes and stickers to bigger ticket items like electronics. Some of the things that can be taken are obviously of a much higher value than things like food or shoes. This can lead to you speculating that if a higher priced item is stolen, the charges that can go along with it will also become more severe.

However, both petty theft and shoplifting are considered to be misdemeanors due to the fact that only certain crimes fall under these categories. If you've stolen over a certain amount of money in goods, typically $150, then the crime will no longer be considered shoplifting or petty theft. Instead, it can be considered stealing. You can end up with jail time if you're convicted of stealing, and there is usually a maximum of 5 years in jail time. Big ticket items like televisions, jewelry or cars are considered to fall under the category of stealing rather than petty theft or shoplifting.

Shoplifting and petty theft differ from each other as well, despite both being misdemeanors. Shoplifting is a type of petty theft. However, with shoplifting, you can be charged for intent. This means you don't have to leave the store with the item to be charged.

Theft charges of any sort will land you with some sort of penalty if convicted, though. Even if you don't have to deal with the serious effects associated with felonies, you could still pay fines and have to deal with other penalties.

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