Is shoplifting a misdemeanor or a felony?
Unfortunately, it depends based on the facts of the case. There’s two things that we have to look at to determine whether shoplifting in Virginia is a misdemeanor or a felony.
The first thing is the value of the items that you are accused of stealing. If you’re accused of taking less than $200 worth of items or merchandise, then it would normally be a misdemeanor offense. If the value of that one incident is more than $200, that becomes a felony offense, if it’s charged that way.
So that’s the first question is, the value. Is it less than $200 or more than $200? That’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony but it doesn’t end there.
The second consideration we have to look at is your record. If you have two prior theft related convictions on your record, anywhere in the world, anytime in your life, your third theft related offense in Virginia becomes a felony. Even if it’s a misdemeanor level. Let’s say you were convicted two times before, 30 years ago, of shoplifting and now you’re accused of stealing $5 from 7-Eleven. That would be a felony offense potentially because it’s your third theft related offense.
The first thing we look at is the value. Is it less than 200, then it’s likely to be a misdemeanor but you also have to look at your record. Have you ever been found guilty of shoplifting before? And if so, how many times in any theft related offense. Maybe one time it was a pickpocket, one time it was embezzlement, and the third time it’s shoplifting, now you could be facing a felony charge, even though the value of the items is very minimal.