Shoplifting is one of the most common theft offenses in California. If apprehended, you will be charged with theft. Theft is taking property from a person or business without the owner’s permission. How you will be charged depends on several factors:
- The value of the property;
- Your past criminal background.
When confronted with charges of shoplifting, attorney David Knoll presents your case in the best possible light by mounting a viable and believable defense.
Shoplifting Charges and Penalties in California
Shoplifting penalties can vary from case to case.
- If the value of the property you took is worth $50 or less, it is possible you will be charged with a petty theft infraction. You will not have to serve jail time, but you can be fined up to $250.
- If the value of the property you stole was $950 or less, you will likely be charged with a petty theft misdemeanor. You will have to pay a mandatory fine of $50 to $1000. If this is your first and only petty theft conviction, you could also face up to six months in a county jail.
- The prosecuting attorney levels grand theft charges when the value of the merchandise you took is over $950. It is up to him or her to determine whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. You face up to one year in jail, unless you stole a firearm. If you stole a firearm, you could be incarcerated anywhere from 16 months to three years — a prison sentence.
Shoplifting can also bring civil charges and penalties. Civil charges seek redress, which means righting the wrong you committed.
- You will have to pay damages of $50 up to $500.
- If the property you took is not recoverable or is not in a condition for the owner to sell, you will have to reimburse the owner the full retail value of the merchandise you took.
Alternative Punishments: Diversion Programs and Plea Bargaining
Diversion programs in California offer an alternative to prosecution for first-time offenders or those who commit low-level crimes. If the prosecuting attorney agrees to let you participate in a diversion program, you will have to fulfill certain conditions mandated by the Court, such as restitution and/or community service.
A plea bargain, a negotiation between your attorney and the prosecutor, is another possibility. A successful plea bargain results in a reduced sentence and/or reduced charges, if you plead guilty.
Criminal defense attorney David Knoll collects evidence to have the shoplifting charges against you dropped, or enters into plea-bargaining to reduce the charges to a petty theft infraction or a petty theft misdemeanor, if possible.Help with Shoplifting Charges