THE FELONY THRESHOLD CONCERN
To prevent prison overcrowding, felony thresh-olds have been rising over the last few years. This means that for shoplifters to be charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor, a shoplifter must steal much more merchandise.
For example, the State of California replaced their old petty crime law (PC 666) with what is called Prop 47. One of the many things Prop 47 did that concerns California retailers was that it raised the felony threshold to $950. This means that any shoplifter caught stealing less than $950 can only be charged with a misdemeanor.
To put this into perspective, under the old version of PC 666, if a shoplifter had three or more prior convictions for certain theft crimes, then he or she could have potentially received a felony sentence of 16 months to 3 years in prison. However, Prop 47 stipulates that shoplifters can only be charged with misdemeanors regardless of how many prior theft convictions they have. (The only exception to this is if a suspect has a prior conviction of theft or embezzlement from an elderly person or dependent adult.)