California

California

SHOPLIFTING LAWS DEFINED 

490. Petty theft is punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both.

490a. Wherever any law or statute of this state refers to or mentions larceny, embezzlement, or stealing, said law or statute shall hereafter be read and interpreted as if the word "theft" were substituted therefor.

490.1. (a) Petty theft, where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken is of a value which does not exceed fifty dollars ($50), may be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction, at the discretion of the prosecutor, provided that the person charged with the offense has no other theft or theft-related conviction.

(b) Any offense charged as an infraction under this section shall be subject to the provisions of subdivision (d) of Section 17 and Sections 19.6 and 19.7.
A violation which is an infraction under this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

490.2. (a) Notwithstanding Section 487 or any other provision of law defining grand theft, obtaining any property by theft where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) shall be considered petty theft and shall be punished as a misdemeanor except that such person may instead be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 if that person has one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph...

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SHOPLIFTING CRIMINAL PENALTIES SUMMARY

By NOLO

ChargeClassificationPenalty
Petty theft: theft of property valued at less than $50 with no prior related convictionsInfraction (This may also be charged as a misdemeanor at the discretion of the prosecutor, see misdemeanor penalties below)Fine up to $250
Petty theft: theft of goods valued at less than $950Misdemeanor (Some offenses may be charged as infractions, see above)If charged as a misdemeanor, mandatory fine between $50 and$1,000 and/or up to six months of jail time for first time conviction of petty theft of retail merchandise
Grand theft: theft of goods valued at $950 or greater or theft of a firearmMisdemeanor or felonyIf the charge was based on stealing a firearm, jail time for 16 months two years, or three years; in other situations, incarceration up to one year

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