In New South Wales it is an offence to steal or take an item from a store without paying for it. This is commonly referred to as ‘shoplifting’.

Shoplifting charges are prosecuted pursuant to section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900, which is the criminal offence of Larceny. The maximum penalty for larceny is 10 years imprisonment, however where the goods taken are valued under $2,000 the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.

Penalties for shoplifting vary depending on whether it’s the defendant’s first offence, the value of the goods and how the crime was carried out. The starting point for any offence is the recording of a criminal conviction coupled with the imposition of a fine or a good behaviour bond. That being said, it’s possible for courts to deal with someone facing shoplifting charges without recording a conviction. A non-conviction order shouldn’t be expected even if it is your first offence or relates to a small quantity of goods.

A Magistrate can order that no conviction be recorded (by granting a “section 10”) in certain circumstances. It’s important that a case is prepared thoroughly and the Magistrate has evidence of your remorse, the circumstances of the offence, character references and evidence of repayment or return of the relevant goods. It’s beneficial to obtain legal advice in relation to any charge being faced, particularly if the consequences of a conviction are likely to be far-reaching. Armstrong Legal is available to provide advice, representation and can assist in the preparation of documents for court.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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