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Shoplifting in LA is a crime that can result in some very serious penalties. Fines and time spent in jail are both common punishments for shoplifters. In addition to these two, a shoplifter can also be sued by the merchant in a civil court to recover damages from any merchandise or money that was taken. Shoplifting is generally defined as “theft of goods”. This occurs when someone takes something from a merchant by fraud or without consent. Intent to deprive a merchant occurs when the person conceals items on their person in the store, alters or switches price tags, damages an item so that they receive a discount, or alter the cash register in order to cause an item to ring up cheaper than it should. Shoplifters who are caught in LA can be subject to both civil and criminal penalties under California law. There are typically three types of theft cases, which are petty theft, grand theft, and burglary.
Petty theft is the stealing of any goods valued at $400.00 or less and is classified as a misdemeanor under Penal Code Section 488. Any item valued at $50.00 or less stolen is generally reduced to an infraction. Grand theft is the stealing of any goods over $400.00 and is charged as a felony under Penal Code Section 487. Burglary is the act of entering or breaking into a home, building, vessel, or business with the intent to commit a theft. Under Penal Code Section 459, burglary is always considered a felony.
We are an experienced law firm who will handle your shoplifting case in Los Angeles with the utmost care and concern. We will do everything we can to ensure you get the best legal representation for your specific case. It is important to remember to never speak to the police without your lawyer present. Remember that everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law! We are on your side to help you get the best results possible for your case. Luckily, there are a lot of different defenses that can be used in shoplifting cases. For example, to be charged with shoplifting, you must have taken the property without intending to pay for it. If we can prove you were forgetful at the time or took the item by mistake, you may have the charges dropped or reduced. If you intentionally committed the crime of shoplifting, we will help you avoid a criminal conviction.
Many prosecutors and judges in Los Angeles courts may be willing to offer a plea bargain that allows the defendant to avoid having a criminal conviction on their record. If you are a first-time offender with no prior convictions, this can greatly help your case. While prosecutors are usually unlikely to offer a plea bargain if the amount of the stolen items is over $150, there are always ways our experienced lawyers can negotiate a lesser charge for your offense. We will do everything possible to make sure you get a fair trial. Contact us today to discuss your shoplifting case in Los Angeles.