A new Missouri law will reduce “stealing under $150” from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D misdemeanor for first-time offenders. This newly created Class D misdemeanor stealing offense will be punishable by a fine of up to $500 but no jail time.
The new Missouri stealing law takes effect January 1, 2017.
What is the Maximum Penalty for Stealing Under $500 in Missouri?
Under current law, stealing or shoplifting property valued under $500 is a Class A misdemeanor unless the stolen item is a certain specified type of property. The maximum penalty in Missouri for Class A stealing is 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
New Law Increases the Fine for Class C Stealing
Terms of imprisonment for the other classes of misdemeanor stealing will not change when the new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017. However, the new law will increase the maximum fine for Class C misdemeanor stealing from $300 to $750.
Charge Reduced for Stealing/Shoplifting Repeat Offenders
The new law will also help repeat offenders. Currently in Missouri, if a person is charged with stealing or shoplifting for a 3rd time within 10 years, the prosecuting attorney must charge the defendant with felony stealing. (The penalties for felony stealing are much worse than for misdemeanor stealing.)
The new law will require the defendant to be charged with a felony only upon the 4th stealing offense within 10 years.
An Attorney Can Get Your Stealing/Shoplifting Charge Dismissed or Reduced to a Lesser Offense
Having a conviction for stealing on your criminal record will prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining a federal student loan. In many cases, an attorney can get your misdemeanor shoplifting or stealing charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as “Littering.”
The outcome of your stealing case depends on many things, such as:
1) which court your case is in (some courts are stricter than others),
2) your criminal history (having prior convictions makes a big difference), and
3) the details of your particular case (it’s worse if you ran from the security guard)
In many cases, your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain deal with the court so that all you have to do is pay a fine and court costs, and you won’t have to appear in court.
In other cases, the best possible outcome may be an SIS (Suspended Imposition of Sentence) with probation. With an SIS, there will be no conviction on your criminal record if you successfully complete probation without any violations.