Shoplifting is considered a serious criminal offense and is penalized as such in the state of California. Depending on the stolen item's value, the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are facing shoplifting charges, contact a Redondo Beach shoplifting attorney from our firm to discuss your case. At Michael Norris, Inc., we are here to provide you with the guidance and representation you need to navigate this difficult situation.
Call Michael Norris, Inc. today at (310) 439-5404 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our shoplifting attorney in Redondo Beach.
What is Shoplifting?
Shoplifting is a form of theft that occurs when an individual unlawfully takes merchandise from a retail store with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item without paying for it. This act can encompass a wide range of actions, such as:
- Concealment: Hiding items on your person, in a bag, or in clothing to leave the store without paying for them.
- Altering Labels: Switching or altering price tags or labels to pay a lower price than the item's actual value.
- Switching Packaging: Replacing an item's packaging to deceive store personnel into charging a lower price.
- Distracting Employees: Diverting the attention of store employees to commit theft.
- Walking Out: Simply leaving the store without paying for the merchandise.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in California?
The penalties for shoplifting in California are defined under Penal Code Section 459.5. The severity of the punishment is influenced by various factors, including the value of the stolen items and the defendant's criminal history. Here's an overview of the potential consequences for shoplifting in California:
- Misdemeanor Shoplifting: If the value of the stolen merchandise is less than $950, shoplifting is typically charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties could include fines reaching up to $1,000 and up to six months in county jail.
- Felony Shoplifting: If the value of the stolen goods exceeds $950 or the defendant has prior theft-related convictions, shoplifting can be charged as a felony. The consequences may involve imprisonment in state prison and more substantial fines.
- Juvenile Offenders: For minors accused of shoplifting, the penalties can include counseling, community service, probation, and restitution to the victim. The goal is often rehabilitation rather than strict punishment.
Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges
Some common defenses against shoplifting charges may include:
- Lack of Intent: Shoplifting requires the intent to permanently deprive the store of the item. This could be a valid defense if you can demonstrate that you had no intention to steal and simply forgot to pay.
- Mistaken Identity: If you were wrongfully accused of shoplifting due to a case of mistaken identity or misidentification, proving your innocence is crucial.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: If law enforcement or store personnel conducted an unlawful search or seizure, any evidence obtained during that process may be inadmissible in court.
- Duress or Necessity: If you can show that you shoplifted under threat or in a situation of necessity, you may have a valid defense.
- Entrapment: If you can demonstrate that you were encouraged or induced by law enforcement or store personnel to commit the crime, it could be considered entrapment.
Contact Our Shoplifting Lawyer in Redondo Beach Today
Facing shoplifting charges can be a daunting experience, but you don't have to go through it alone. At Michael Norris, Inc., our Redondo Beach shoplifting lawyer, is here to provide you with strong legal representation and support during the legal process. Your future is important, and we are here to help you secure it.
Contact Michael Norris, Inc. today to get started with our Redondo Beach shoplifting lawyer.