In the United States, shoplifting is a criminal offense. Therefore, individuals who are convicted of shoplifting can face criminal sentencing, including incarceration. However, the majority of shoplifting cases to not result in imprisonment for the offender.
The punishment for shoplifting varies a great deal from one State to another. In addition, an individual’s punishment will range depending upon how much merchandise he/she stole and if he/she has previously been convicted of a crime. A first time offender whole stole a few items may be required to pay a fine or complete community service. If an individual is a repeat offender who has stolen extensive quantities of merchandise, he/she may be sentenced to incarceration.
If an individual does shoplift, the store owner can choose to press charges, though this will rarely result in incarceration. It is important to understand that the penalty for shoplifting generally depends upon the surrounding circumstances. Though incarceration is rare, it is a possible consequence.