If you’ve been arrested for shoplifting in Los Angeles you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. California recently passed a law which reduced the severity of the penalties that can be awarded for shoplifting convictions. However, a conviction can still make your life unnecessarily complicated.
If you submit an application for a new apartment or apply for a job any future landlords and employers may run a background check. In some cases, they may choose to move forward with candidates who do not have convictions for shoplifting on their criminal record. To avoid this situation, it is important to fight the shoplifting charges against you. A Los Angeles shoplifting attorney can create a custom defense designed to minimize the penalties you face. Contact the attorneys at The Rodriguez Law Group today for a free consultation.
Shoplifting and Petty Theft
In California, petty theft the unlawful taking of property valued at less than $950. There are a few different ways a person can commit petty theft.
- Theft by Larceny. Physically taking property that belongs to another person.
- Theft by Trick. Obtaining property by defrauding the property owner. This is best explained with an example: changing the price tag on an item so that you pay less than is marked by the product’s seller.
- Theft by Embezzlement. Taking property that has been entrusted to you by its owner.
- Theft by False Pretense. Purposefully deceiving a property owner to persuade them to give you their property.
Petty theft does not have to be permanent. If you take property for a period of time long enough to deprive them of the use or value of the property you may be guilty of petty theft in California.
One of the most common ways is through shoplifting. Shoplifting is a type of petty theft but is actually a separate criminal offense. Shoplifting is defined as “entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).”
More plainly, shoplifting occurs when you enter a store and intend to steal property worth no more than $950. You can be convicted of shoplifting even if you do not successfully leave the store with the property. The intent to commit the petty theft is sufficient.
Prop 47 Reduced Penalties for Shoplifting
In 2014, California passed Proposition 47. Prop 47, which is also known as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” reduces the penalties for certain crimes that had been wobblers. A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California. Prop 47 removes the possibility of being charged with a felony for certain crimes.
Prior to Prop 47 shoplifting was a wobbler. The prosecution had the discretion to charge a person arrested for shoplifting with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific facts and circumstances of the incident.
Before the recent legislation, those convicted of shoplifting could potentially face serious time in prison for a minor offense. Now, thanks to Prop 47, those convicted of shoplifting in California will face a maximum of 6 months in county jail.
Defenses to Shoplifting Charges in California
If you have been arrested for and/or charged with shoplifting in California you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to review the details of your case and determine which defense(s) may be most appropriate. Defenses to shoplifting in California may include:
- You lacked the required intent to commit petty theft;
- You own the item you are accused of stealing;
- You had permission from the item’s owner to take it; or
- You were wrongly accused.
Experienced Los Angeles Shoplifting Attorneys
The best way to fight shoplifting charges in California is to launch a powerful defense. Enlisting the assistance of a qualified shoplifting defense attorney could be the difference between 6 months in jail and probation.
As a former district attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez understands how the prosecution will approach your case. He will use this insight when crafting your defense – highlighting the information that is most likely to help you. Contact our office today for a free consultation and to learn about how we may be able to help you.