DC Shoplifting Penalties

According to the shoplifting statute in D.C., the possible penalties if a person is convicted of shoplifting are a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail plus a fine. That fine depends on the value of the property, but usually, it is going to be a $500 fine in addition to any restitution or fines that need to be paid.

If you are facing DC shoplifting penalties, you should reach out to an accomplished attorney today. A dedicated shoplifting lawyer could advocate for you and help you build a strong defense.

Misdemeanor Consequences

The potential consequences if a person is charged with a misdemeanor include jail time for shoplifting that could be up to 90 days. There is potentially a fine that could be up to $500. There could also be additional costs, such as restitution, in which they have to pay back the rightful owner of the property the value of any property that was taken. There could be a term of probation, which lasts much longer than 90 days. Probation for a shoplifting offense could be months or even up to a year.

A conviction of probation varies, but it could include restrictions on travel. The probation restrictions could include orders to stay away from certain locations, persons, and businesses. It could impose reporting requirements in which someone has to check-in either physically or on the phone with a supervising agent at regular intervals. Furthermore, DC shoplifting penalties include a conviction that will be on the person’s criminal record. That is public and available to be accessed by employers, educational institutions, and anyone else who wants to look for it.

That could have additional consequences on a person’s life, whether with their job, their school, and their professional need to get licensed if they are a doctor or a lawyer or if they need to get a security clearance. A conviction for shoplifting could severely impact an individual’s personal and professional life.

Felony Penalties for Shoplifting

Shoplifting itself, according to the statute in D.C., is a misdemeanor offense. The act of taking property from a store, which is not the legal definition of shoplifting under the D.C. Code but rather how the term is commonly used by the public, could also constitute as theft under D.C. law. In D.C., theft could be a felony if the value of the property is high enough. If the property that is taken is over $1,000, it is considered theft in the first degree and the maximum penalty could be up to ten years in jail.

If someone is charged with a crime of shoplifting under the D.C. statute, it is a misdemeanor, but someone who takes property valued at over $1,000 from a business could constitute shoplifting, but also constitute theft in the first degree, which is a felony.

Probation or Reduced Sentencing Options

The possible probation or reduced sentence options when facing shoplifting charges vary. The maximum penalty for shoplifting is 90 days in jail. However, very rarely is someone going to be sentenced to a full 90 days in jail. That will be an extreme sentence for this charge, especially for someone without any aggravating factors. At the very least, one could negotiate for a suspended sentence. A suspended sentence means that the person will not serve any jail time and will be on probation for a period of time.

Probation is a form of supervision by the court and imposes certain conditions on a person. If the individual violates those conditions, they may be subject to jail time. Essentially, the sentence that was suspended may be imposed for some or all the sentence. The conditions of probation vary in how restrictive they are. It could be as simple as unsupervised probation in which the only condition is to not commit any new crimes, but there are reporting requirements, testing requirements, and other conditions.

If a person is convicted for shoplifting, attorneys would try to negotiate for a suspended sentence with lenient terms of probation. In D.C., there are some legal options available. There are a couple of diversion programs in Washington, D.C. in which a person has to do community service. They may have to meet some other requirements, attend some classes, and stay out of trouble. Often, they have to stay away from the location of the incident. With a diversion program, as long as the person meets those conditions, the government will drop the charges. The case would be dismissed and the person will not be convicted. If you are facing Washington DC shoplifting penalties, contact an attorney today.