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The Guide To Oregon Shoplifting Laws

The Oregon Shoplifting Laws Guide

Shoplifting laws in Oregon can be a bit of a maze but don't worry, we've got your back. In this article, we're going to lay it all out in plain language, covering the different types of shoplifting and what kind of trouble you could be in if you're caught. Whether you live here or are just visiting, it's good to know the rules to keep yourself out of hot water. 

Oregon Shoplifting Laws 

Under Oregon law, shoplifting is typically considered a form of theft, which can be classified into different degrees depending on the value of the stolen goods and other circumstances surrounding the offense. Shoplifting is a common problem in Oregon, just like it is in other places. Stores of all sizes feel the pinch when items go missing, and it's not just the big-ticket items that get swiped. Small, everyday things like cosmetics or snacks are often targeted too. It's a real headache for store owners, and it can lead to higher prices for everyone else. To tackle the issue, many stores have beefed up their security with cameras and special tags on products. But despite these efforts, shoplifting remains a challenge that keeps store owners on their toes. 

ORS Theft 1 

ORS Theft 1 refers to Theft in the First Degree, which is outlined under ORS 164.055. This is the most serious classification of theft in Oregon and is considered a Class C felony. Theft in the First Degree occurs under several circumstances, including: 

Value of Property: The value of the property stolen exceeds $1,000.

Theft from a Person: The theft involves taking property directly from another person, but not through robbery or extortion. 

Theft During a Catastrophe: The theft occurs during or immediately after a fire, explosion, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster, and the stolen property is valued at more than $1,000. 

Theft of a Firearm: Regardless of the value of the firearm, stealing a gun automatically qualifies as Theft in the First Degree. 

Theft of Livestock: Stealing any livestock animal, including but not limited to cattle, horses, or sheep, is considered Theft in the First Degree.

Theft of a Metal Component: Stealing metal components used in transportation, power supply, or communication infrastructure, where the cost of replacement or repair is more than $1,000. 


Conviction for Theft in the First Degree can result in significant penalties, including up to 5 years in prison, fines up to $125,000, and restitution to the victim for the value of the stolen property. 

ORS Theft 2 

ORS 164.045 is a less severe classification than Theft in the First Degree, but still a significant offense, classified as a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon. Theft in the Second Degree is characterized by the following conditions: 

Property Value: The stolen property's value is more than $100 but does not exceed $1,000. 

Theft of Services: The theft involves obtaining services (such as utilities, lodging, or transportation) through deception, threat, or other means without paying for them, and the value of the services falls within the $100 to $1,000 range. 

Theft of a Bicycle: If a bicycle is stolen and its value is more than $100 but less than $1,000, the theft is classified as Theft in the Second Degree. 


The penalties for Theft in the Second Degree can include up to 1 year in jail, fines of up to $6,250, and restitution to the victim for the value of the stolen property or services. This level of theft is treated seriously by the legal system, reflecting the impact it has on victims and the community, while also considering the lesser degree of severity compared to Theft in the First Degree. 

ORS Theft 3 

ORS 164.043 is the least severe classification of theft in Oregon and is categorized as a Class C misdemeanor. Theft in the Third Degree encompasses situations where: 

Value of Stolen Property: The value of the property or services stolen is $100 or less.

Petty Theft: This classification often covers cases of petty theft, where the items taken are of relatively low value. 

Theft in the Third Degree is designed to address minor theft incidents, providing a legal framework to hold offenders accountable while recognizing the lesser degree of harm compared to more significant theft offenses. It serves as a deterrent to prevent individuals from engaging in theft, regardless of the value of the property involved. 


The consequences for committing Theft in the Third Degree include a possible jail sentence of up to 30 days, fines of up to $1,250, and restitution to the victim for the value of the stolen property or services. Although it is the least severe theft charge, it still carries legal penalties that reflect the importance of respecting property rights. 

Aggravated Theft in Oregon 

In Oregon, aggravated theft, also known as Aggravated Theft in the First Degree, is outlined under ORS 164.057. This is a particularly serious form of theft, classified as a Class B felony, which is one step below the most severe category of felonies in the state. Aggravated theft occurs under specific circumstances that elevate the severity of the offense beyond standard theft charges. 

Aggravated theft is defined as the theft of property or services valued at more than $10,000. This high threshold is set to distinguish aggravated theft from other theft offenses, reflecting the significant financial impact and potential harm to victims. The $10,000 value can include the combined value of multiple items or services stolen as part of a single criminal episode. 


A conviction for Aggravated Theft in the First Degree carries severe penalties, including a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years, fines of up to $250,000, and restitution to the victim for the full value of the stolen property or services. In addition to these legal consequences, individuals convicted of aggravated theft may also face long-term repercussions, such as difficulty finding employment and damage to their reputation.

Portland Retail Theft Laws 

Retail theft laws in Oregon are enforced under the broader framework of the state's theft statutes, which classify theft offenses into different degrees based on the value of the stolen property and other factors. While there aren't any specific laws unique to Portland regarding retail theft, the city's law enforcement agencies and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office handle retail theft cases in accordance with Oregon Revised Statutes. 

Retail theft in Portland includes various offenses such as shoplifting, organized retail crime, and theft by deception. The penalties for retail theft can range from fines and community service for lower-value thefts (Theft in the Third Degree) to significant jail time and fines for higher-value thefts or repeated offenses (Theft in the First Degree or Aggravated Theft). 

Civil Liability 

Victims of shoplifting can take legal action in civil court against adult shoplifters or the parents or legal guardians of juvenile shoplifters. They can sue for the actual damages resulting from the shoplifting incident, a penalty equal to the retail value of the stolen item, and an additional penalty ranging from $100 to $250. 

Alternatives to Prosecution 

Individuals in the state of Oregon charged with certain offenses, including some cases of shoplifting or theft, may have alternatives to traditional prosecution. Two common options are diversion and deferred adjudication programs. 

1. Diversion Programs: These programs allow eligible individuals to avoid a criminal conviction by completing specific requirements, These requirements may include community service, theft education classes, or restitution to the victim. Upon successful completion, the charges are typically dismissed, meaning there is no criminal record of the conviction. 

2. Deferred Adjudication Programs: In deferred adjudication, the court postpones the final judgment or sentencing. The defendant may need to meet certain conditions, similar to those in diversion programs. If the defendant successfully fulfills these conditions, the charges may be reduced or dismissed, avoiding a formal conviction on their record. 

Both alternatives aim to rehabilitate offenders and prevent future criminal behavior while reducing the burden on the court system. Participation is often limited to first-time offenders or those charged with minor offenses and is subject to approval by the court and the prosecution. 

The Guide to Oregon Shoplifting Laws Conclusion 

Understanding the classification of theft in Oregon is important for anyone living in or visiting the state. From Theft in the Third Degree for lower-value items to Aggravated Theft for high-value property, the legal system provides a structured approach to addressing retail theft. If you or a loved one are facing any kind of shoplifting or theft charge in Oregon, it's important to seek experienced legal assistance. Shawn Kollie with Kollie Law has the knowledge and skill to help you navigate the complexities of the law and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. If you need a Portland criminal defense attorney, we recommend Powell Law.

*Nothing herein constitutes legal advice. You should obtain independent legal counsel regarding your specific factual situation.


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