If you're looking for a Kentucky online theft class, it's important to know your Kentucky theft laws. This can help you understand more about your offense.

Please note that the Kentucky theft and shoplifting laws displayed on this page are to help you to understand your state Kentucky theft, shoplifting and stealing laws. While we have tried to show the most up-to-date version of Kentucky theft laws, we do not guarantee its accuracy. This page is not a replacement for legal advice from an attorney. It is in your best interest that you find an appropriate lawyer for more information about Kentucky theft laws.

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Kentucky Theft Laws

514.020 General provisions.

(1) It is a defense to prosecution for theft that the actor:

(a) Was unaware that the property or service was that of another; or

(b) Acted under a claim of right to the property or service involved or a claim that he had a right to acquire or dispose of it as he did; or

(c) Took property exposed for sale, intending to purchase and pay for it promptly, or reasonably believing that the owner, if present, would have consented.

(2) It is no defense that theft was from the actor's spouse, except that misappropriation of household and personal effects or other property normally accessible to both spouses is theft only if it involves the property of the other spouse and only if it occurs after the parties have ceased living together.

(3) It shall be prima facie evidence of intent to commit theft by deception when one who has leased or rented the personal property of another fails to return the personal property to its owner within ten (10) days after the lease or rental agreement has expired. It shall also be prima facie evidence of intent to commit theft by deception when one presents to the owner identification which is false, fictitious or not current as to name, address, place of employment or other items of identification for the purpose of obtaining the lease or rental agreement. Nothing herein contained shall relieve the owner from making demand for return of property so leased or rented. Notice addressed and mailed to the lessee or renter at the address given at the time of the making of the lease or rental agreement shall constitute proper demand.

514.030 Theft by unlawful taking or disposition -- Penalties.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in KRS 217.181 or 218A.1418, a person is guilty of theft by unlawful taking or disposition when he unlawfully:

(a) Takes or exercises control over movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof; or

(b) Obtains immovable property of another or any interest therein with intent to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.

(2) Theft by unlawful taking or disposition is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property is five hundred dollars ($500) or more, in which case it is a Class D felony; or unless:

(a) The property is a firearm (regardless of the value of the firearm), in which case it is a Class D felony;

(b) The property is anhydrous ammonia (regardless of the value of the ammonia), in which case it is a Class D felony unless it is proven that the person violated this section with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine in violation of KRS 218A.1432, in which case it is a Class B felony for the first offense and a Class A felony for each subsequent offense; or

(c) The value of the property is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.040 Theft by deception.

(1) A person is guilty of theft by deception when the person obtains property or services of another by deception with intent to deprive the person thereof. A person deceives when the person intentionally:

(a) Creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention, or other state of mind;

(b) Prevents another from acquiring information which would affect judgment of a transaction;

(c) Fails to correct a false impression which the deceiver previously created or reinforced or which the deceiver knows to be influencing another to whom the person stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship;

(d) Fails to disclose a known lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of property which the person transfers or encumbers in consideration for the property obtained, whether the impediment is or is not valid or is or is not a matter of official record; or

(e) Issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.

(2) The term "deceive" does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance or puffing by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.

(3) Deception as to a person's intention to perform a promise shall not be inferred from the fact alone that he did not subsequently perform the promise.

(4) For purposes of subsection (1) of this section, a maker of a check or similar sight order for the payment of money is presumed to know that the check or order, other than a postdated check or order, would not be paid, if:

(a) The maker had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or

(b) Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, upon presentation within thirty (30) days after issue, and the maker failed to make good within ten (10) days after receiving notice of that refusal. Notice of the refusal may include a citation to this section and a description of this section's criminal penalties and shall be deemed properly addressed when mailed to the address printed or written on the check or sight order or provided by the drawer or maker upon issuance of the check or sight order. The notice, if mailed, shall be deemed received by the addressee seven (7) days after it is placed in the United States mail. The notice may be sent by first-class mail if supported by an affidavit of service setting out the contents of the notice, the address to which the notice was mailed, that correct postage was applied, and the date the notice was placed in the United States mail. A maker makes good on a check or similar sight order for the payment of money by paying to the holder the face amount of the instrument, together with any merchant's posted bad check handling fee not to exceed fifty dollars ($50) and any fee imposed pursuant to subsection (5) of this section.

(5) If a county attorney issues notice to a maker that a drawee has refused to honor an instrument due to a lack of funds as described in subsection (4)(b) of this section, the county attorney may charge a fee to the maker of fifty dollars ($50), if the instrument is paid. Money paid to the county attorney pursuant to this section shall be used only for payment of county attorney office operating expenses. Excess fees held by the county attorney on June 30 of each year shall be turned over to the county treasurer before the end of the next fiscal year for use by the fiscal court of the county.

(6) A person is guilty of theft by deception when the person issues a check or similar sight order in payment of all or any part of any tax payable to the Commonwealth knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.

(7) A person is guilty of theft by deception when the person issues a check or similar sight order in payment of all or any part of a child support obligation knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.

(8) Theft by deception is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property, service, or the amount of the check or sight order referred to in subsection (6) or (7) of this section is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.050 Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake.

(1) Except as provided in KRS 365.710, a person is guilty of theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake when:

(a) He comes into control of the property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient; and

(b) With intent to deprive the owner thereof, he fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to a person entitled to have it.

(2) Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.060 Theft of services.

(1) A person is guilty of theft of services when:

(a) The person intentionally obtains services by deception or threat or by false token or other means to avoid payment for the services which he knows are available only for compensation;

(b) The person intentionally obtains wireless communications services or access to services by any of the following means:

  1. Unauthorized interception of any electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or like identifying number;

  2. Unauthorized interception of any cellular service or personal communications service as terms may be defined in 47 C.F.R. parts 22 and 24 respectively;

  3. Unauthorized interception of any similar telephone service; or

  4. Use of deception, threat, or other means to avoid payment for the services which the person knows are available only for charge or compensation; or

(c) Having control over or unauthorized access to the use of the services of others to which the person is not entitled, the person intentionally diverts the services to the person's own benefit or the benefit of another not entitled thereto.

(2) Where compensation for services is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of the services, as in the case of hotels and restaurants, refusal to pay or absconding without payment or offer to pay shall be prima facie evidence that the services were obtained by deception as to intention to pay.

(3) In any prosecution for theft of gas, water, electricity, or other public service, where the utility supplying the service had installed a meter or other device to record the amount of service supplied, proof that:

(a) The meter or other device has been altered, tampered with, or bypassed in a manner so as to prevent or reduce the recording thereof; or

(b) Service has been, after having been disconnected by the utility supplying service, reconnected without authorization of the utility shall be prima facie evidence of the intent to commit theft of service by the person or persons obligated to pay for service supplied through the meter or other device.

(4) Theft of services is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the service is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.065 Possession, use, or transfer of device for theft of telecommunications services.

(1) As used in this section, "telecommunications service" means any communication service ordinarily provided for a charge or compensation to facilitate the origination, transmission, emission, or reception of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, or intelligence of any nature by telephone, including but not limited to cellular and personal communications service, as terms may be defined in 47 C.F.R. parts 22 and 24, respectively, telephones, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photooptical systems, but excluding cable television services, even if provided by a telephone utility.

(2) A person is guilty of possession, use, or transfer for use of a device for theft of telecommunications services when the person:

(a) Makes, assembles, or possesses any instrument, apparatus, equipment, or device designed, modified, altered, programmed, reprogrammed, or otherwise adapted for or used for commission of a theft of telecommunications services in violation of KRS 514.060; or

(b) Sells, gives, transports, or otherwise transfers to another, or offers or advertises to sell, give, or otherwise transfer any instrument, apparatus, equipment, or device described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, or plans or instructions for making or assembling the same under circumstances evincing an intent to use or employ the instrument, apparatus, equipment, or device, or to allow the same to be used or employed, for a purpose described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, or knowing or having reason to believe that the same is intended to be so used, or that the aforesaid plans or instructions are intended to be used for making or assembling the instrument, apparatus, equipment, or device.

(3) An instrument, apparatus, equipment or device described in paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of this section shall not include any instrument, apparatus, equipment, or device authorized or approved or otherwise permitted by an agency of the federal government or the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

(4) Possession, use, or transfer for use of a device for theft of telecommunications services is a Class A misdemeanor unless the defendant has previously been convicted of violating this section, in which case it is a Class D felony.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any instrument, apparatus, equipment, or device designed, modified, altered, programmed, reprogrammed, or otherwise adapted for or used for commission of a theft of telecommunications service in violation of KRS 514.060, may be seized under warrant or incident to a lawful arrest for the violation of KRS 514.060, and, upon the conviction of any person for a violation, the court shall order any instrument, apparatus, equipment, device, or plans or instructions for making or assembling them forfeited to the state or destroyed in accordance with KRS 500.090(1)(a), or if requested by the person providing the telecommunications service in the territory in which they were seized, turned over to the telecommunications service provider.

514.070 Theft by failure to make required disposition of property.

(1) A person is guilty of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received when:

(a) He obtains property upon agreement or subject to a known legal obligation to make specified payment or other disposition whether from such property or its proceeds or from his own property to be reserved in equivalent amount; and

(b) He intentionally deals with the property as his own and fails to make the required payment or disposition.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) apply notwithstanding that it may be impossible to identify particular property as belonging to the victim at the time of the actor's failure to make the required payment or disposition.

(3) An officer or employee of the government or of a financial institution is presumed:

(a) To know any legal obligation relevant to his criminal liability under this section; and

(b) To have dealt with the property as his own when:

  1. He fails to account or pay upon lawful demand; or

  2. An audit reveals a shortage or falsification of accounts.

(4) Theft by failure to make required disposition of property received is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

(5) No person shall be convicted of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received when he or she has also been convicted of a violation of KRS 522.050 arising out of the same incident.

514.080 Theft by extortion.

(1) A person is guilty of theft by extortion when he intentionally obtains property of another by threatening to:

(a) Inflict bodily injury on anyone or commit any other criminal offense; or

(b) Accuse anyone of a criminal offense; or

(c) Expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute; or

(d) Use wrongfully his position as a public officer or servant or employee by performing some act within or related to his official duties, either expressed or implied, or by refusing or omitting to perform an official duty, either expressed or implied, in a manner affecting some person adversely; or

(e) Bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective unofficial action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or

(f) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense.

(2) It is a defense to prosecution based on subsection (1)(b), (c), or (d) that the property obtained by threat of accusation, exposure, lawsuit, or other invocation of official action was claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances to which accusation, exposure, lawsuit, or other official action relates, or as compensation for property or lawful services.

(3) Theft by extortion is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property obtained is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.090 Theft of labor already rendered.

(1) A person is guilty of theft of labor already rendered when, in payment of labor already rendered by another, he intentionally issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.

(2) For purposes of subsection (1) of this section, an issuer of a check or similar sight order for the payment of money is presumed to know that the check or order, other than a postdated check or order, would not be paid, if:

(a) The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or

(b) Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, upon presentation within thirty days (30) after issue, and the issuer failed to make good within ten (10) days after receiving notice of that refusal.

(3) Theft of labor already rendered is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the labor rendered is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.100 Unauthorized use of automobile or other propelled vehicle.

(1) A person is guilty of the unauthorized use of an automobile or other propelled vehicle when he knowingly operates, exercises control over, or otherwise uses such vehicle without consent of the owner or person having legal possession thereof.

(2) Unauthorized use of an automobile or other propelled vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor unless the defendant has previously been convicted of this offense, or of violation of KRS 514.030 for having stolen an automobile or other propelled vehicle in which case it shall be a Class D felony.

514.110 Receiving stolen property.

(1) A person is guilty of receiving stolen property when he receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or having reason to believe that it has been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed of with intent to restore it to the owner.

(2) The possession by any person of any recently stolen movable property shall be prima facie evidence that such person knew such property was stolen.

(3) Receiving stolen property is a Class A misdemeanor unless:

(a) The value of the property is five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony;

(b) The value of the property is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony;

(c) The property is a firearm, regardless of the value of the firearm, in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(d) The property is anhydrous ammonia, regardless of the value of the ammonia, in which case it is a Class D felony unless it is proven that the person violated this section with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine in violation of KRS 218A.1432, in which case it is a Class B felony for the first offense and a Class A felony for each subsequent offense.

514.120 Obscuring identity of machine or other property.

(1) A person is guilty of obscuring the identity of a machine or other property when he or she:

(a) Removes, defaces, covers, alters, destroys, or otherwise obscures the manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing identification number or mark, including property marked with a Social Security number or motor vehicle operator's license number for identification purposes, upon any automobile or other propelled vehicle, machine, or electrical or mechanical device, or other property, including any part thereof, with intent to render it or other property unidentifiable; or

(b) Possesses any automobile or other propelled vehicle, machine, or electrical or mechanical device, or other property, including any part thereof, knowing that the serial number or other identification number or mark, including property marked with a Social Security number for identification purposes, has been removed, defaced, covered, altered, destroyed, or otherwise obscured.

(2) Possession of any automobile or other propelled vehicle, machine, or electrical or mechanical device, or other property, including any part thereof, on which the serial number or any other distinguishing identification number or mark, including property marked with a Social Security number or motor vehicle operator's license number for identification purposes, has been removed, defaced, covered, altered, destroyed, or otherwise obscured is prima facie evidence of knowledge of that fact.

(3) A person in possession of any property which is otherwise in violation of this section may apply in writing to the Department of Kentucky State Police, through any law enforcement agency in the county of his or her residence, for assignment of a number for the property providing he or she can show that he or she is the lawful owner of the property pursuant to the provisions of this section and KRS 16.200 and 500.090. If a number is issued in conformity with the provisions of this section and KRS 16.200 and 500.090, then the person to whom it was issued and any person to whom the property is lawfully disposed of shall not be in violation of these sections. A person lawfully holding a certification issued pursuant to KRS 500.090 shall also be deemed in compliance with this section. This section shall apply only when the application has been filed by the defendant prior to arrest or authorization of a warrant of arrest for the defendant by a court.

(4) Obscuring the identity of a machine or other property is a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the property is:

(a) Five hundred dollars ($500) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), in which case it is a Class D felony; or

(b) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, in which case it is a Class C felony.

514.130 Seizure and forfeiture of certain property.

(1) Upon the conviction of any person for the violation of any offense in this chapter all property held in violation of this chapter, and any personal property, including but not limited to vehicles or aircraft, used in the commission or furtherance of an offense under this chapter or in the transportation of stolen property shall be forfeited as provided in KRS 500.090 by court order and sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of in accordance with KRS 500.090.

(2) Possession of a vehicle with a stolen major part or parts installed thereon shall be deemed to bring the entire vehicle within the provisions of subsection (1) of this section.

(3) For the purposes of this section a major part of an automobile or other propelled vehicle shall mean:

(a) The engine;

(b) The frame;

(c) The transmission;

(d) The front cap ("dog house");

(e) The front clip;

(f) The rear clip;

(g) The top clip;

(h) The cowl clip;

(i) A door;

(j) A truck bed;

(k) A truck cab; or

(l) A vehicle body shell.

(4) It shall be the duty of every peace officer to seize any property which is subject to forfeiture under this section.

514.140 Theft of mail matter.

(1) A person is guilty of theft of mail matter when with intent to deprive the owner thereof he:

(a) Steals;

(b) By fraud or deception obtains;

(c) Embezzles;

(d) Conceals;

(e) Damages; or

(f) Destroys;

any mail matter of another (including but not limited to any letter, postal card, package, bag, or other item) from any letterbox, mail receptacle, or other authorized depository for mail matter, or from a letter carrier, postal vehicle, or private mail box or which has been left for collection or delivery adjacent thereto by the United States Postal Service.

(2) Theft of mail matter is a Class D felony.

514.150 Possession of stolen mail matter.

(1) A person is guilty of possession of stolen mail matter when he knowingly or having reason to believe that it has been the subject of theft in violation of KRS 514.140:

(a) Possesses;

(b) Buys;

(c) Receives;

(d) Conceals;

(e) Deals in; or

(f) Sells;

any mail matter (as defined in KRS 514.140).

(2) Possession of stolen mail matter is a Class D felony.

514.160 Theft of identity.

(1) A person is guilty of the theft of the identity of another when he or she knowingly possesses or uses any current or former identifying information of the other person or family member or ancestor of the other person, such as that person's or family member's or ancestor's name, address, telephone number, electronic mail address, Social Security number, driver's license number, birth date, personal identification number or code, and any other information which could be used to identify the person, including unique biometric data, with the intent to represent that he or she is the other person for the purpose of:

(a) Depriving the other person of property;

(b) Obtaining benefits or property to which he or she would otherwise not be entitled;

(c) Making financial or credit transactions using the other person's identity;

(d) Avoiding detection; or

(e) Commercial or political benefit.

(2) Theft of identity is a Class D felony. If the person violating this section is a business that has violated this section on more than one (1) occasion, then that person also violates the Consumer Protection Act, KRS 367.110 to 367.300.

(3) This section shall not apply when a person obtains the identity of another to misrepresent his or her age for the purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or another privilege denied to minors.

(4) This section does not apply to credit or debit card fraud under KRS 434.550 to 434.730.

(5) Where the offense consists of theft by obtaining or trafficking in the personal identity of another person, the venue of the prosecution may be in either the county where the offense was committed or the county where the other person resides.

(6) A person found guilty of violating any provisions of this section shall forfeit any lawful claim to the identifying information, property, or other realized benefit of the other person as a result of such violation.

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