Alaska Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws

Theft Defined Under Alaska Law

Alaska law defines theft as a crime that occurs when "with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate property of another to oneself or a third person, the person obtains the property of another." Alaska's theft statute also identifies specific variations of theft, such as:

  • theft of lost or mislaid property
  • theft by deception
  • theft by receiving
  • theft of services
  • theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received or held, and
  • concealment of merchandise or shoplifting.

(Alaska Stat. § 11.46.100.)

Classification of and Punishment for Theft Offenses in Alaska

Alaska, like many states, classifies its theft offenses according to the value of the property taken. Offenders face more severe punishment and more serious criminal charges as the value of the property increases. Likewise, previous criminal convictions can bump a theft charge up to a higher level in Alaska’s classification scheme for theft offenses.

Theft in the fourth degree (lowest-level theft offense in Alaska).

Under Alaska law, the theft of property or services valued at less than $50 constitutes theft in the fourth degree (sometimes called petty theft). In Alaska, theft in the fourth degree is generally a class B misdemeanor, which can result in a sentence of imprisonment of not more than 90 days, as well as a fine of $2,000 or less. (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135(b), 12.55.035(b)(6).)

However, theft is the fourth degree may rise to the level of a class A misdemeanor if the offender has two or more convictions for theft or a theft-related offense in the preceding five years, whether those convictions were in Alaska or elsewhere. (Alaska Stat. § 11.46.150, 11.46.140.)

Theft in the third degree.

Theft of property or services valued at $50 or greater, but less than $500, is theft in the third degree under Alaska law. Theft in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor in Alaska, carrying a term of imprisonment of one year or less, plus a fine of $10,000 or less. ( § 12.55.135(a), 12.55.035(b)(5).)

As with theft in the fourth degree, theft in the third degree can be a class C felony if the offender has two or more convictions for theft or a theft-related offense in the preceding five years, whether those convictions were in Alaska or elsewhere. (Alaska Stat. § 11.46.140, 11.46.130.)

Theft in the second degree.

For theft of property or services valued at more than $500, but less than $25,000, the offense is theft in the second degree, a class C felony under Alaska law. (Alaska Stat. §11.46.130.) For a class C felony, an offender may receive a sentence of incarceration for up to five years, and a fine of not more than $50,000. However, if the offender has no prior criminal convictions, and no other special circumstances exist, the offender may receive a sentence of two years or less. (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125(e), 12.55.035(b)(4).)

In some cases, the offender may even receive no actual sentence of imprisonment other than a suspended sentence. Under these circumstances, jail time will result only if the offender violates certain terms and conditions set forth by the sentencing court as part of the suspended sentence.

Theft in the first degree.

Theft of property or services valued at more than $25,000 constitutes theft in the first degree, which is a class B felony under Alaska law. ( § 11.46.120.) If a court convicts an offender of theft in the first degree, the offender may receive a sentence of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, plus a fine of not more than $100,000. However, if the offender has no prior criminal convictions and no other special circumstances exist, Alaska law dictates that the sentence range from one to three years, which may be fully suspended in some cases. (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125(d), 12.55.035(b)(3).)

Alaska Shoplifting Laws

Just as with theft offenses, Alaska law classifies concealment of merchandise, or shoplifting, according to the type and value of merchandise stolen. If the value of the merchandise is less than $50, the offense is a class B misdemeanor. If the value of the merchandise is between $50 and $500, the offense is a class A misdemeanor. However, if the shoplifting involves a firearm or merchandise valued at more than $500, the offense is a class C felony. (Alaska Stat. § 11.46.220.)

See theft classifications above for details on potential punishment.

Civil Penalties for Theft Offenses

An offender who commits a theft that is classified as shoplifting under Alaska law may face civil penalties in addition to any criminal penalties. A shoplifter is liable to the owner or seller of the merchandise (i.e., the store owner) for:

  • the lesser of $1,000 or the retail value of the shoplifted merchandise
  • an additional penalty of $100 to $200, and
  • any actual damages caused by the shoplifting incident.

If the shoplifter is a juvenile, the parent or legal guardian of the minor is liable for the lesser of $500 or the retail value of the shoplifted merchandise, in addition to a penalty of $100 to $200 and the value of any actual damages resulting from the shoplifting offense. (Alaska Stat. § 09.68.110.)

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