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What To Do If You Get Caught Shoplifting

You can hire an attorney to get your Missouri Shoplifting case dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering.”

What Is the Maximum Punishment For Shoplifting Under $500

Stealing Under $500 is a class A misdemeanor in Missouri.

The maximum penalty for class A misdemeanor Stealing Under $500 is:

  • 1 year in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • Conviction for Stealing on your permanent criminal record

No Jail Time For Shoplifting Under $150

Stealing Under $150 is a class D misdemeanor if you have no prior convictions.

The maximum penalty for class D misdemeanor Stealing Under $150 is:

  • No Jail Time (for first-time offenders)
  • $500 fine
  • Conviction for Stealing on your permanent criminal record

Shoplifting Convictions Stay On Your Criminal Record Forever

You will have a misdemeanor conviction for Stealing on your permanent criminal record if you plead guilty to any of the following criminal offenses:

  • Stealing Under $150
  • Stealing Under $500
  • Shoplifting
  • Petty Theft
  • Petty Larceny

Having a conviction for Stealing, Shoplifting, Petty Theft, or Petty Larceny on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or getting federal student aid for college. Having a misdemeanor conviction can also cause you to lose your government subsidized housing.

Why Can’t Shoplifting Convictions Be Expunged From Your Criminal Record?

Missouri’s new expungement law takes effect on January 1, 2018 and will let people request the removal of misdemeanor convictions from their criminal record.

Unfortunately, convictions for Stealing are not eligible for expungement under the new law.

Consult An Attorney If You Have Been Charged With Shoplifting

Since expungement of Shoplifting convictions is not allowed, it is very important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with Shoplifting, Stealing, Petty Theft, or Petty Larceny.

Some defendants plead guilty to Shoplifting because they can’t afford to hire an attorney, they don’t know how an attorney can help them, or they don’t realize the long-term consequences of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

What Can An Attorney Do About Your Shoplifting Ticket?

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get your Shoplifting charge dismissed completely or reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering.”

The outcome of your case depends on many factors, such as:

  • Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have any prior arrests, charges, or convictions on your criminal record?
  • How did you behave toward the police officer or security guard in the store?
  • What did you steal?
  • What was the price of the item you stole?

Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation and can give you a flat-fee price quote for legal representation. They can also give you an estimate of the outcome of your case, including the amount of any fines or court costs you have to pay.

Do You Have To Pay The $250 Civil Fine For Shoplifting?

If you get caught Stealing, the store security guard will call the police and you will be charged with Shoplifting, Stealing, Petty Theft, or Petty Larceny. The police officer may arrest you and take you to jail, or they may just give you a ticket for Shoplifting and let you go.

In addition to being charged criminally for Stealing, the store will also send you a “Civil Demand” letter from their lawyer. The Shoplifting Civil Demand Letter will state that you owe the store $250 to reimburse them for their expenses.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys advise their clients to refuse to pay the Civil Fine.

It is legal for stores to sue shoplifters in civil court for $250 for their costs related to the theft. However, you don’t owe the store anything unless they successfully sue you in civil court and win a judgment against you.

Stores rarely follow through on their threat to sue because the cost to file the lawsuit is much more than the $250 they would get if they win a judgment against you.


If you need help with your Missouri shoplifting case, contact St. Louis criminal defense attorney Andrea Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or for a free consultation.


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Andrea Rogers

With over 15 years of concentrated experience in Missouri traffic law and misdemeanors, Andrea Rogers of The Rogers Law Firm provides personalized, flat-fee legal services backed by a case outcome guarantee for every client she takes on across the state.