Seek Legal Advice From a Trusted Ventura Criminal Attorney
Have you or someone you know been charged with shoplifting in Ventura, CA? Shoplifting is a serious crime that can result in steep fines, community service, and even jail time. If you’re facing shoplifting charges, hiring an experienced Shoplifting Charges Attorney in Ventura CA, who can help protect your rights and build a strong defense is crucial.
That’s where David Lehr Law comes in. Our team of skilled criminal attorneys has many years of experience defending clients against shoplifting charges, and we’re dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to know your legal options.
What is Shoplifting?
Shoplifting is defined by California Criminal Code 459.5 as entering an open establishment during normal business hours to take products valued at $950 or less.
PC 459.5 states that shoplifting is always a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine unless the criminal has one or more prior convictions.
The common definition of shoplifting is stealing an item from a store without paying for it. This term applies to the majority of shoplifting laws in the United States. Note the essential word “intent,” which will be covered in greater detail later.
If you were arrested or issued a citation for shoplifting, you would typically receive a civil demand notice saying that you must make restitution or be sued.
What is the CA penalty for shoplifting?
Shoplifting is considered theft in California, defined as stealing, carrying away, or otherwise appropriating another person’s property to deprive the rightful owner of that item. Theft is classified into two primary categories, based on the property’s value: petit theft and grand theft.
The following are the monetary penalties for shoplifting:
- A fine of less than $50 if you have no prior convictions (petty theft)
- Fine as high as $250
- More than $50 but less than $950 (petty theft)
- Six-month maximum prison term
- Fine between $50 and $1,000
- $950 or greater or theft of a firearm (grand theft)
- One-year maximum jail term
- Theft of a firearm is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months, two years, or three years, depending on the severity of the offense.
In addition to criminal penalties, an adult or emancipated juvenile can be held civilly accountable to the merchandise owner if damages of at least $50 but no more than $500 were caused. Or if the retail value of the stolen merchandise is greater than the worth recovered in a sellable condition.
What Are The Best Defense Strategies Against 459.5 PC Charges?
If you are facing charges under California Penal Code 459.5, it is essential to have a strong defense strategy. Here are some of the best defense strategies that may help you in fighting against the charges:
Lack of Intent:
One of the most effective defenses against 459.5 PC charges is to prove that you did not intend to steal when you entered the establishment. For example, if you entered a store intending to buy an item but later changed your mind and left without paying, it may be possible to argue that you did not have the intent to steal at the time of entering.
If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program. This pretrial intervention program allows you to complete certain requirements in exchange for the dismissal of your charges.
If you have been falsely accused of committing the crime, you can argue that you were not present at the time of the incident or were mistaken for someone else.
Another defense is to show that you were mistaken about the facts. For example, if you believed that you had permission to take the item or that it belonged to you, you may be able to argue that you did not intend to steal.
If you agree to restitution to the shopkeeper, this can be used as a defense. By showing that you have taken responsibility for your actions and are willing to make things right, it may be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
If you are facing 459.5 PC charges, it is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you develop a strong defense strategy based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Can You Detain A Shoplifter Legally?
Suppose a loss prevention officer — paid by many stores to combat stealing – suspects that you are intending to steal merchandise from the store. In that case, they can take the following actions:
- Ask to look in your bag (but you have the right to refuse this request),
- The authorities may detain you with reasonable force.
- Detain you for an appropriate period, and
- You are required to remain in place until the cops arrive.
You are not required to communicate with a loss prevention officer.
If you are accused of shoplifting, it is in your best interest to remain silent until you talk with an attorney. It is essential to note that loss prevention officers are private security guards, not police enforcement officers.
What Is the Statute Of Limitations for Shoplifting?
There are numerous theft offenses in California, however, they can be grouped primarily as petty theft and grand theft. The classification of shoplifting depends on the value of the allegedly stolen property. Theft of items valued at less than $950 is called petty theft. Theft of items valued at $950 or more is considered grand theft.
Typically, petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor, but if you have a past conviction, you could face either misdemeanor or felony charges. Likewise, huge theft is a wobbler. In determining the statute of limitations, the distinction between misdemeanor and felony is crucial.
California’s statute of limitations for misdemeanor theft crimes is one year, per Penal Code 802. In contrast, the statute of limitations for felony theft crimes is four years, per Penal Code 801.5. You cannot be found guilty of shoplifting if the district attorney fails to press charges within that time frame.
The deadline for wobblers will be determined by the charge the DA chooses to pursue, which will be determined by which scenario they believe they can win. If they only have sufficient evidence for a misdemeanor case or the worth of the stolen item is less than $950, they may have only one year to bring a misdemeanor charge. They will pursue a felony conviction and adhere to the four-year statute of limitations only in the most severe circumstances.
Can A Conviction For Shoplifting In California Be Expunged?
Many defendants want to know if they may get their conviction for shoplifting expunged. While shoplifting offenses may be eligible for expungement, each situation is unique. So, it is in your best interest to retain a reputable San Diego shoplifting attorney to see whether your offenses can be expunged from your record. Call David Lehr Law immediately to discuss your options.
Why Do You Need Shoplifting Charges, Attorney Ventura Ca?
Shoplifting charges can have serious consequences that can negatively impact your life. That’s why it’s important to seek the help of an experienced shoplifting charges attorney in Ventura, CA. A good lawyer can provide the legal support you need to effectively fight the charges against you and minimize the potential consequences.
One of the key reasons you need a shoplifting charges attorney is that the consequences of a conviction can be severe. Depending on the value of the stolen merchandise, you could be facing hefty fines, probation, community service, and even jail time. A conviction can also have long-lasting effects on your reputation, making it difficult to find a job or secure housing in the future.
The shoplifting charges attorney at David Lehr Law is a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled many shoplifting cases. They are knowledgeable about California’s laws and legal system and are dedicated to providing their clients with the best possible legal representation.
We also understand the impact a shoplifting conviction can have on your life, and we are committed to helping our clients minimize the consequences of a conviction. We communicate clearly and regularly with our clients, ensuring they are informed and involved throughout the legal process. Contact us now and let us help you protect your rights and your future.
Call our Shoplifting Charges Attorney in Ventura CA, Now!
If you are facing shoplifting charges in Ventura, California, you may be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unsure about what to do next. Shoplifting charges can result in serious consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. Hiring an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights is essential.
At David Lehr Law, we prioritize in defending clients against shoplifting charges in Ventura, California. Our team of skilled attorneys has years of experience and a proven track record of success in this area of law. We understand the unique challenges that come with shoplifting charges and are equipped to help you address them.
Be sure to get the legal help you need. If you’re facing shoplifting charges in Ventura, California, call David Lehr Law now to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will provide the guidance and support you need to protect your rights and future.
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