What Is Fifth-Degree Theft?

Fifth-degree theft is the least serious form of felony theft. Different states have different definitions and penalties for fifth-degree theft. Iowa, for example, considers stealing items valued at $200 or less to be fifth-degree theft, while Connecticut sets the bar at $250 to $500, as of 2014.

Fifth-degree theft is also known as "petty theft." Petty theft most often involves shoplifting, either intentionally or accidentally. Most states classify it as a misdemeanor. If one is convicted of petty theft in court, the conviction appears on the defendant's criminal record. Depending on the jurisdiction, it may be possible to have a fifth-degree theft conviction expunged from a criminal record by paying fines, taking classes or participating in community service.