If you are in need of a Irvine Shoplifting or Petty Theft Attorney, you may have been caught by store security, or loss prevention, in a store and were charged by the police. Cases in Orange County involving shoplifting are common in Orange County. In our experience handling the defense of Shoplifting and Petty Theft cases as Attorneys, we have found that the majority of crimes charged come from a handful of particularly aggressive stores:
- Fry’s Electronics;
- Costco Wholesale Stores;
- Target; and
Of course any commercial business, or any store or shop, can detain and call the police if there is a suspicion of shoplifting or petty theft.
What Are the Laws?
Shoplifting cases are usually punished as a whole under one of the following statutes:
Penal Code (PC) 484
Penal Code (PC) 666
Penal Code (PC) 459,
What is the Punishment?
In California, the laws are broken up in to three categories:
Infractions, for which there is no jail time, and only fines possible (such as traffic tickets);
Misdemeanors, for which the jail time potential cannot exceed one year in jail;
Felonies, for which the jail time is anything above one year (and up).
The law makes any of the theft laws above either a felony, or a misdemeanor, based upon the value of the items that were to be stolen. Anything under $950 is a misdemeanor, anything at or over $950 is a felony. $950 is the dividing line between felonies and misdemeanors under the law, and that was recently . I should mention here that there is a difference with burglary (PC 459) where stealing from a private home is involved. If someone is home, that is considered a crime of violence, even if no violence occurred, and is a strike felony, meaning that extra sentence enhancements, which are very severe, apply. Most burglary cases are commercial, that is, from a business, instead of a private home.
In addition to punishment as a crime, all theft crimes are crimes of moral turpitude. That can keep a person from immigrating to the United States or becoming a US Citizen, as those are excludable or deportable offenses as a category of crimes, or can keep most people from any financial or position of authority careers, jobs, or most licenses, state or federal.
What are Defenses to Irvine Shoplifting Petty Theft?
Defenses that exist might include any, or all of the following:
- No intent to steal;
- The property found does not belong to the store, but instead to the defendant;
- The defendant lacked the mental capacity to have the intent to steal;
- This is a civil matter already settled with the store through a civil compromise, and thus settled;
- This is a matter better suited to diversion than with a conviction in criminal court.
How Can A Irvine Shoplifting Petty Theft Attorney do a Civil Compromise?
A civil compromise can dismiss a shoplifting or petty theft case. A civil compromise is a contract agreement that recognizes that the store has no losses, or has settled losses, as a civil matter, and that the store loss prevention does not want to participate in the criminal system. Under the law, that is a sentencing factor and can be considered when reducing a felony case to a misdemeanor, or when dismissing a misdemeanor case.
Obtaining a civil compromise is a longer process, that involves our law firm contacting the legal department of the store where the alleged theft took place, drafting an agreement suitable to both sides, and then civilly settling the matter and presenting that contractual settlement to the prosecutor and requesting dismissal as allowed under the law.
Why do I need an Irvine Shoplifting Petty Theft Attorney?
You need a shoplifting or petty theft attorney for any crimes accused to prevent a conviction, and to professionally handle this as a criminal defense matter and to protect your interests.
How Can I Contact an Irvine Shoplifting Petty Theft Attorney?
You can contact our criminal defense attorneys to discuss your case any time, by using the contact the firm page, or by calling us, toll free, at (877) 568-2977.