Shoplifting Charges in Kentucky

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Kentucky. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

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Shoplifting in Kentucky is a crime with serious penalties, including potential fines and jail time. In addition to facing criminal penalties, shoplifters can be sued by merchants in civil court to recover damages.

Kentucky Shoplifting Laws

Kentucky law punishes shoplifting under the general category of “theft by unlawful taking or disposition.” Theft applies to anyone who takes the property of another with intent to deprive the owner of the property or its value. The act of concealing unpurchased goods in a store can be used as rebuttable evidence that the individual intended to deprive the owner of the goods without paying the purchase price.

Criminal penalties for shoplifting become progressively more serious as the dollar value of the stolen goods increases. Criminal and civil penalties for shoplifting are described below.

Kentucky Criminal Shoplifting Penalties

Charge

Classification

Penalty

Theft of goods valued at under $500

Class A misdemeanor

Jail time of up to 12 months; fines up to $500

Theft of goods valued at $500 to $10,000; theft of items used to manufacture methamphetamine or theft of a firearm

Class D felony

Jail time between one and five years; fines up to the greater of double the gain from the offense or $10,000  

Theft of goods valued at $10,000 or more

Class C felony

Jail time between one and five years; fines up to the greater of double the gain from the offense or $10,000  

Civil Penalties

In Kentucky, shoplifters (or the parents or legal guardians of unemancipated minor shoplifters) can be sued in civil court by victimized shoplifters for actual damages, a penalty in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise, up to $500, and an additional penalty between $100 and $250.

Pretrial Diversion and Plea Bargaining

Pretrial diversion programs are available to certain individuals accused of first-time and low-level crimes. If an accused completes the program-mandated requirements, which may include community service and making restitution to the victim, the criminal charges will be dropped.

When a diversion program is not an option, the accused may be able to arrange a plea bargain with the prosecutor assigned to the case, who has discretion to show leniency in appropriate situations. A prosecutor may, but does not have to, offer a reduced sentence or a reduced charge, in exchange for a guilty plea.

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Alaska. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

Learn more about diversion and pretrial options.

Getting Help

If you have been accused of shoplifting, you should strongly consider getting legal help. A lawyer can help you explore any options you may have, including pursuing diversion programs, raising defenses, and negotiating plea bargains, in order to minimize the consequences of a shoplifting charge.

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