Oregon Misdemeanor and Felony Theft and Shoplifting Laws

Like many states, Oregon classifies its theft offenses according to the value of the stolen property—and, in some cases, according to the type of property stolen.

Oregon's theft statute covers a broad range of prohibited conduct, including theft of property or services, extortion, taking lost or misdelivered property, shoplifting, and receiving stolen property.

Defining Theft Under Oregon Law

Under Oregon law, a person commits theft if, with the intent to "deprive" the rightful owner of their property or services, the offender:

  • takes, appropriates, obtains, or withholds the property from the owner
  • takes possession of lost or misdelivered property
  • uses force, threats, or deception to avoid payment for services
  • commits theft by extortion
  • commits theft by deception, or
  • knowingly receives property that has been stolen.

Let's break down some of these terms.

To deprive. An offender deprives another of property by disposing of or withholding their property permanently or for such an extended period of time that the owner loses a major portion of its economic value or benefit.

Property. Property means something of value and may include things such as money, tangible and intangible personal property, real property, rights in property, and evidence of a debt or contract.

Services. Theft of services can include professional services, transportation, communications services, entertainment, food supply, hotel accommodations, and public utilities.

(Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 164.005, -.015, -.125 (2020).)

Classification of Theft Offenses and Penalties in Oregon

Like most other states, Oregon classifies theft offenses according to the value of the property or services taken—and, sometimes, by the circumstances surrounding the theft.

Theft in the Third Degree

Oregon law classifies the lowest-level theft offense as theft in the third degree. This class C misdemeanor includes cases where the total value of the stolen property or services is less than $100. A person who commits third-degree theft faces up to 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.

Theft in the Second Degree

Theft in the second degree constitutes a class A misdemeanor and involves stolen property or services valued at $100 or more but less than $1,000. An offender guilty of second-degree theft is subject to up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine.

Theft in the First Degree

Theft is charged as theft in the first degree, a class C felony, when one of the following conditions exists:

  • the total value of the stolen property or services is $1,000 or more
  • the theft occurs during a riot or catastrophe
  • the property is a firearm, explosive, livestock, companion animal, or wild animal, or
  • the property is a precursor substance that can be used to manufacture synthetic drugs.

First-degree theft carries up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine.

Aggravated Theft in the First Degree

If the total value of the property or services stolen is $10,000 or more, Oregon law designates the offense as aggravated theft in the first degree. (This category does not apply to stolen personal vehicles.) The punishment for aggravated theft in the first degree, a class B felony, includes up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Furthermore, if the victim of the theft was age 65 or older at the time of the offense, the judge must sentence the offender to a prison term of 16 to 45 months.

Theft by Extortion

A person who commits theft by extortion also faces class B felony penalties. This penalty applies regardless of the value of the stolen property or services. Theft by extortion occurs when a person tries to obtain property or services by threatening to harm another. Harm can come in the form of physical injury, property damage, false criminal accusations, and false testimony. A class B felony carries up to 10 years' prison time and a $250,000 fine.

(Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 161.605, -.615, -.625, -.635; 164.043, -.045, -.055, -.057, -.061 (2020).)

Shoplifting Penalties in Oregon

A person commits shoplifting by taking merchandise offered for sale without the consent of the store owner and with the intention of converting the merchandise to their own use or by altering the price of the merchandise.

Shoplifting in Oregon carries both criminal and civil penalties. Like many states, Oregon's law allows for a criminal prosecution (brought by a government prosecutor) and a civil lawsuit (filed by the store owner).

Criminal Penalties

The criminal penalties for shoplifting are based on the value of the stolen merchandise and mirror the theft penalties stated above. Because theft constitutes a class C felony once the amount of stolen merchandise reaches $1,000, shoplifters can quite quickly be looking at serious felony charges.

Civil Penalties

In addition to any criminal penalties, a person who commits shoplifting may be civilly liable to the store owner for any of the following:

  • the actual damages caused by the shoplifting incident
  • a penalty in the amount of the retail value of the item stolen, not to exceed $500 (but not more than $250 if the parent or legal guardian of a juvenile shoplifter is paying), and
  • an additional penalty to the owner of not less than $100 and not more than $250.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.875 (2020).)

Talk to a Lawyer

If you've been arrested for or charged with theft or a related crime, contact an Oregon criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even a minor theft offense can have permanent negative consequences. An experienced attorney will know the local law, possible defenses, and both the short- and long-term consequences for any similar conviction.

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