Los Angeles Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

Arrested for petty theft? Let us fight your charges.

Shoplifting is stealing something from a store; the legal term for shoplifting is petty theft. You shoplift if you intend to take something that does not belong to you from a store without paying for it, and you do so, or try to. Shoplifting also includes switching labels on merchandise in order to get a better price for your purchases. All shoplifting charges come with consequences. Shoplifting can be a serious crime, depending on the value of the property stolen and a person's prior criminal record in regard to theft.

In most cases, first offenses are charged as misdemeanors and are punishable by a small fine and up to three year of informal probation, even for a teen or juvenile offender. In some cases, a first shoplifting offense can be reduced to an infraction, thus eliminating any criminal record. Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at our firm for a no-charge consultation to learn about your legal options. We offer our clients aggressive representation, with over 70 years of combined experience.

Petty Theft and Shoplifting Penalties

Generally referred to as shoplifting, petty theft is the unlawful taking of someone else's property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. Petty theft is usually charged as a misdemeanor on the first offense, and the value of the property stolen is valued under $950. Petty theft is punishable by a fine, up to six months in county jail, and three years of informal probation. Petty theft is charged as a felony if you have three or more prior theft convictions under Penal Code section 666.

This felony conviction is punishable by 16 months to three years in state prison. The value of the property stolen is determined by the property's reasonable and fair market value. When shoplifting involves stolen property that is valued at more than $950, the charge can be elevated to grand theft. Grand theft can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony under Penal Code section 487, and is punishable by up to one year in county jail or 16 months to three years in state prison.

Fight the Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

Most shoplifting charges are proven by evidence through the store video camera, loss prevention staff, security staff, or other witnesses. The specific intent of the person who committed the crime does not need to be proven. In most instances, you cannot use mental illness, medication, drug or alcohol-related problems as an excuse for shoplifting. If the case is a factually weak one (for example, few witnesses), it is possible that these charges can be reduced to a trespass charge or dismissed altogether.

It is critical that you fight your theft charges because the stakes are high.

Theft convictions are classified as crimes of moral turpitude, which means that California licensing boards will reference a theft conviction as a reason to deny licenses and certifications (real estate license, nursing license, and contractor's license). Theft convictions are seen by prospective employers as acts of dishonesty justifying denial of employment. Furthermore, theft convictions can come with immigration consequences for immigrants who are seeking a green card, visa, and U.S. citizenship.

Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for a Free Consult

Theft charges require the legal expertise and negotiating abilities of skilled legal counsel. In the event that there is a conviction, an experienced criminal defense lawyer is your best chance to take advantage of jail alternatives such as house arrest or electronic monitoring. Our shoplifting attorneys will discuss your rights, possible defenses, and your legal options in order to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Contact a Los Angeles shoplifting attorney when you have been arrested for stealing from a retail store. We will review your case for free!