Petit theft is a standard charge for offenses that involve stolen property valued at less than $750. Generally, this crime is a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.
Petit theft has two categories as a misdemeanor:
- Second-degree misdemeanor: The property was worth less than $100. This offense comes with jail time not exceeding 60 days and a fine of up to $500.
- First-degree misdemeanor: The property’s worth ranged from $100 to $750. Penalties for this crime include a maximum of one year of jail time and a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Shoplifting often gets charged as petit theft based on the dollar-amount value of the stolen goods. However, the charges can change based on the situation.
Sometimes, the court may consider the offense a felony if the accused is a repeat offender. If they had two to three prior petit theft convictions, the current offense could become a third-degree felony.
If the amount of stolen goods exceeds $750, it can become a third-degree grand theft offense, also a third-degree felony.
Difference between petit and grand theft
Petit and grand theft differ based on the stolen property’s dollar value. The more significant the amount, the worse the charges can get.
However, various details of the crime can affect the penalties and sentence. Sometimes, it depends on the type of property or goods stolen. If it was a firearm, motor vehicle or an important legal document, the court might immediately bring about grand theft charges regardless of its dollar value.
Additionally, each criminal case could have unique circumstances affecting its category, which can escalate or reduce charges accordingly.