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If you have been accused of stealing something from a store or business, it is important to understand the serious nature of your predicament. Even though it is relatively easy for someone to make this type of allegation and you may have been mistakenly accused, you should take action to protect your rights and your reputation. Regardless of the circumstances that led to your arrest, you must keep in mind that shoplifting charges are aggressively prosecuted in Orange County and can result in penalties such as jail time and costly fines.
Legal Elements in a Shoplifting Case
In order for a crime to be classified as a shoplifting charge, it must involve the intentional theft of property or the concealment of property that is known to be for sale at a business. Little actions such as removing price tags on clothing or swapping labels on clothing to pay a lesser price will also be charged as shoplifting. If you have been arrested, you should enlist the help of an Orange County theft lawyer who may be able to help you prove that there was no such intent.
In most shoplifting cases, the major question that must be answered is whether or not you actually intended to conceal or steal the property. If the intent is evident, you may be accused of shoplifting whether or not you have actually walked out of the store. In order to catch potential shoplifters, many stores and businesses will install surveillance cameras and will hire undercover officers who can catch individuals before they leave the store.
Regardless of the circumstances that led up to your arrest, our Orange County shoplifting defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman can provide you with the tough legal protection you need and deserve. Our legal team understands that even a misdemeanor shoplifting charge can affect your future and should not be taken lightly. We are confident that we have the legal tools and resources to help you after an arrest for this theft crime, and we will not give up on your case.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Orange County, CA
Shoplifting, also known as larceny, happens when someone takes possession of property owned by someone else, without the owner's permission, to deprive the owner of it permanently, and also moves that property and keeps it for a period of time.
This crime is a misdemeanor that may result in the following penalties:
- Informal probation,
- Up to six months in county jail, and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000.
Diversion Programs for First-Time Shoplifting Offenders
First-time offenders may be able to obtain a charge reduction or may qualify for a petty theft diversion program. There are certain qualifications for these opportunities, and our firm can help you determine if you qualify.
If this is your first California petty theft conviction and you have no other theft crime or theft-related convictions, and if the value of the money, property, or services that you stole was $50 or less, our lawyer may be able to convince the prosecutor that your charges should be reduced to a less-serious infraction. If we are able to reduce your case successfully, you will only face a maximum $250 fine. If the items that you allegedly stole exceeded $50 in value, you may qualify for participation in a petty theft diversion program. It will be up to your attorney to make this deal with the prosecution.
If you are successful in obtaining a diversion for your shoplifting charges, you may be required to repay the value of the merchandise that you allegedly stole, as well as complete a certain number of community service hours. There is also a possibility that you will have to attend anti-theft classes.
Increased Penalties for Prior Convictions
If you have been accused of petty theft and you have a prior offense under Penal Code 666 PC, you will be eligible for increased penalties if you are convicted. The types of prior convictions that may lead to these increased penalties are petty theft, grand theft, burglary, grand theft auto, robbery, carjacking, and felony receiving stolen property. Thankfully, it is not enough to simply have one of these theft crimes on your record. You must also have three or more convictions from those crimes on the list above, or you have one of those convictions along with a prior sex crime or a previous conviction for a serious felony.
Call The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman!
These laws can be incredibly complex and confusing for those who are not familiar with California's criminal justice system, but that is where our firm comes in. Orange County shoplifting defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman has extensive experience handling these charges on the behalf of all types of defendants, and she is prepared to fight for you today.
Contact our Orange County theft crime firm and schedule your free & confidential consultation today!