Kansas Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws

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Defining Theft in Kansas

Kansas criminal statutes define theft as any of the following acts done by a person who has the intent to permanently deprive a property owner of the possession or benefit of his or her property:

  • obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over the property
  • obtaining control over the property through fraud or deception
  • obtaining control over the property through threats
  • obtaining control over stolen property, with the knowledge that it has been stolen. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701.)

Classification and Punishment for Theft in Kansas

Like many states, Kansas classifies its theft offenses according to the dollar value of the property or services involved in the offense -- the greater the value of the property or services, the more severe the criminal charge and resulting punishment. Let’s look at each of the different classifications for Kansas theft offenses in greater detail.

Class A Nonperson Misdemeanor in Kansas. The theft of property or services valued at less than $1,000 is a class A nonperson misdemeanor under Kansas law. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701(b)(5), § 21-3704(e)(3).) This is the lowest level of theft in Kansas, and is commonly referred to as petty theft. Theft of lost property and giving a worthless check for an amount that is less than $1,000 are also considered class A nonperson misdemeanors in Kansas. (§ 21-3703, § 21-3705, § 21-3707.) Punishment for a class A nonperson misdemeanor in Kansas can include a term of confinement in county jail for not more than one year, and/or a fine of no more than $2,500. (§ 21-4502(a), § 21-4503a(b)(1).) 

Severity Level 9 Nonperson Felony in Kansas. If a theft involves property worth at least $1,000 but less than $25,000, the offense will be classified as a severity level 9 nonperson felony in Kansas. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701(b)(3).)  The theft of services of the same value is also a severity level 9 nonperson felony. (§ 21-3704(e)(3).) And when property of any value is stolen from three separate stores within a period of 72 hours, that offense will also be classified as a severity level 9 nonperson felony. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701(b)(4).) In Kansas, a severity level 9 nonperson felony carries a sentence of five months to seven months of incarceration -- assuming that the offender has no prior criminal record or only one prior misdemeanor conviction -- and a fine of no more than $100,000. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-4503a(a)(3).) 

Severity Level 7 Nonperson Felony in Kansas. The theft of property or services valued at no less than $25,000 but no more than $100,000 is a severity level 7 nonperson felony. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701(b)(2), § 21-3704(e)(2).) This level of felony can result in a sentence of incarceration ranging from 11 months to 13 months -- assuming that the offender has no prior criminal record or only one prior misdemeanor conviction -- and a fine not to exceed $100,000. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-4503a(a)(3).)  

Severity Level 5 Nonperson Felony in Kansas. When a theft involves property or services valued at $100,000 or more, the crime is considered a severity level 5 nonperson felony in Kansas. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701(b)(1), § 21-3704(e)(1).) This level of felony carries a potential sentence of 31 months to 34 months in prison -- assuming that the offender has no prior criminal record or only one prior misdemeanor conviction -- and a fine of not more than $300,000. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-4503a(a)(2).)

Civil Penalties for Shoplifting in Kansas

A person who commits shoplifting in Kansas (or the parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits shoplifting) can be held civilly liable to the store owner for the following:

  • a civil penalty equal to twice the retail cost of the merchandise or $50, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of $500, if the merchandise is not returned in a sellable condition
  • a civil penalty of $50 or 50% of the retail cost of the merchandise, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of $350, if the merchandise is returned in a sellable condition, or up to a maximum of $50, if the offender is a minor,
  • the store owner's reasonable attorney fees, and
  • the store owner's court costs in bringing the case. (Kan Stat. Ann. § 60-3331.)

Effect of Prior Theft Convictions on Current Theft Charges in Kansas

Theft of property valued at less than $1,000, which is ordinarily a Class A nonperson misdemeanor under Kansas law, rises to the level of a severity level 9 nonperson felony if the offense is committed by a person who has two or more prior theft convictions. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3701(b)(6) - (6)(c).)

For more information about how prior theft convictions may affect a current theft charge, conduct your own legal research, or seek advice from a Kansas criminal defense attorney. 

by: , J.D.

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