Shoplifting Attorney Referral Service
What Is Shoplifting?
“Shoplifting” refers to stealing goods from a shop while pretending to be a genuine customer. While the name makes it seem less serious, shoplifting is really a type of theft. The severity of the offense, and thus the severity of the penalty, depends on the value of the goods stolen.
Proposition 47, which went into effect at the end of 2014, created a specific crime called “shoplifting,” differentiating it from other types of theft. Under Proposition 47, shoplifting occurs when a person enters an establishment, which is open, and intends to steal property worth less than $950. If convicted of this charge, it is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in county jail. However, if the perpetrator has prior serious or violent convictions or is a registered sex offender, the punishment is the same as that for other types of theft.
Infractions, Petty Theft, And Grand Theft
Theft of goods worth less than $50 is considered a minor infraction and you’ll simply need to pay a fine of up to $250. Petty theft refers to the theft of goods worth less than $950. This is a misdemeanor and carries penalties of up to 6 months in jail and fines between $50 and $1000.
Grand theft applies to goods worth more than $950. Grand theft may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony – it’s up to the prosecutor. The prosecutor will consider your criminal history and other relevant information in deciding whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor grand theft carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and fines of up to while felony grand theft carries a penalty of up to 3 years in jail.
If you have prior theft-related convictions, you face more serious penalties than first-time offenders. If you have been convicted of a theft-related offense, theft of items worth less than $50 will be treated as petty theft and charged as a misdemeanor. If you have three or more theft offenses on your record and steal items worth less than $950, you’ll be charged with felony petty theft instead of misdemeanor petty theft. Felony petty theft may get you up to a year in prison.
What should I do if I’ve been charged with shoplifting?
The best thing you can do when you’re charged with a crime is to call an experienced attorney. Your attorney will be able to evaluate your case, help you avoid making mistakes that could damage your case, and advise you about how to move forward. In general, your lawyer will recommend that you do not speak to the police and will request to be present during any questioning.
If you’re charged with shoplifting, you may be arrested and taken to jail. Depending on your criminal history, you may be given the option to post bail and go home until your preliminary hearing. If you don’t get a chance to contact your attorney before this point, now is the time to do it. You’ll need an experienced attorney to guide you through the criminal court process and ensure that your rights are respected.
Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges
While shoplifting may seem cut-and-dry, you may have a valid defense. For example, if you believed in good faith that you owned the property or that you were entitled to possess the property, that may be a defense. Your attorney will also watch out for violations of your rights, such as unlawful search and seizure, that may affect the viability of the case.
Plea Bargains For Shoplifting
In some cases, the state may offer you a deal in exchange for a guilty plea. That’s called a plea bargain. Your attorney can negotiate to get you the best possible deal and you can decide whether to accept it or not. You’ll need to work with your lawyer to evaluate your chances of winning at trial and the severity of the penalties you may face in order to decide if the plea bargain is right for you.
Why Choose SFVBA to Find an Attorney?
Finding the right attorney is difficult. There are many attorneys in the San Fernando Valley area, and not all of them will fit your needs.
If you have been charged with shoplifting and don’t know to whom you should turn, the SFVBA referral service can help you find the right criminal defense attorney to fit your needs. We have a list of competent, qualified, and experienced attorneys that will be able to help you defend the shoplifting charge from its inception to trial or a plea deal. Call us today (818) 340-4529.