Alameda Shoplifting Lawyer
Once, shoplifting would result in felony charges with severe consequences, including burglary charges and time spent in prison. Under Proposition 47, however, shoplifting now is a misdemeanor offense with much more lenient penalties. However, shoplifting still has the potential to create a criminal record and requires the experience of a seasoned attorney to successfully fight a charge.
An Alameda shoplifting lawyer could evaluate your situation, raise appropriate defenses, and work to reach an acceptable resolution in your case. With legal representation, you may be in a better position to achieve a favorable outcome. Legal counsel could be instrumental in protecting your rights and obtaining the best results possible.
What is Shoplifting?
State law establishes shoplifting as an offense separate from theft or larceny. Under California Penal Code § 459.5, shoplifting occurs when individuals enter a store or business:
- With the intent to commit theft
- While the store or business is open for its regular business hours
- The value of the property that the individuals take or intend to take is less than $950
Larceny or theft under Cal. Pen. Code § 484 defines theft as stealing or taking the personal property of others, in the context of shoplifting. Under any other circumstances, entering a business or commercial establishment to commit theft constitutes burglary. If individuals are facing shoplifting charges, however, they cannot face burglary charges arising out of the same incident.
Intent to Commit Shoplifting
The law does not require individuals to steal merchandise or remove the items from the store or business. If the individuals had the intent to steal upon entering the store, even if they did not complete the act of shoplifting, they could face a shoplifting charge and a potential conviction. A shoplifting lawyer in Alameda may be able to examine the circumstances and weigh whether there is adequate evidence of intent in a specific case.
Penalties for Alameda Shoplifting
If the value of the property involved in the crime has a value between $50 and $950, individuals can face up to six months in jail, probation, and $1,000 in fines. If the cost of the property is less than $50, however, the charge can be an infraction or a misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $250.
When is Shoplifting a Felony Offense?
Some shoplifting offenses can still be charged as felonies, however. If individuals have specific prior convictions, they can face felony shoplifting charges, which carry the potential for harsher penalties.
These prior convictions include convictions for any crime that requires individuals to register as sex offenders and convictions for felony crimes punishable by death or life in prison. Other qualifying convictions include those for various murder offenses, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, assault with a machine gun on a police officer, or firefighter. Another conviction includes possession of a weapon of mass destruction. An Alameda attorney could fight for a less severe penalty for a shoplifting offense.
Consult with an Alameda Shoplifting Attorney Today
Shoplifting is a crime that creates a permanent criminal record, which will appear on any background checks you must undergo. An Alameda shoplifting lawyer may be able to determine the best defense strategy for your case if you are facing shoplifting charges.
Additionally, you still may face jail time for shoplifting. To avoid these and other unwanted consequences, you should schedule a consultation right away.