What You Need to Know About California Shoplifting Laws

Shoplifting may seem like a minor charge, but in California it can come with jail time and fines. If you are facing shoplifting charges, you need an experienced defense attorney to help you fight the charges.

Shoplifting Defined - Penal Code 459.5 

Prior to the passing of Proposition 47 in 2014, shoplifting was under the umbrella of theft crimes. Depending on the dollar amount of the property stolen, you could be charged with grand theft (more than $950), petty theft (less than $950) or even burglary. 

Proposition 47 made certain non-violent crimes misdemeanors instead of a felonies for defendants who do not have prior convictions for crimes such as murder, rape, sex offenses and firearms crimes. Under this law, shoplifting and attempted shoplifting became misdemeanors if the total value of the stolen property was less than $950. 

Under the current Penal Code 459.5, shoplifting is defined as “ entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred and fifty dollars ($950). Any other entry into a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny is burglary.” 

Penalties for Shoplifting 

In order to be convicted of shoplifting, the prosecutor must prove that the crime was committed during business hours and that you had intent to steal property, even if you were not successful. 

Shoplifting is considered a misdemeanor under California law and is punishable by up to six months in county jail and fines and fees of up to $1000. You can also get misdemeanor probation. Certain circumstances can result in more or less severe penalties, including your criminal history and the facts of your specific case. For example, if you have a previous conviction for murder or rape, you may be charged with a felony. 

Possible Legal Defenses

An experienced shoplifting defense attorney will help determine the best possible defense for your California shoplifting charges. When you work with a skilled attorney, you can work to get your charges reduced or dropped and save yourself the time, money and frustration of dealing with the California shoplifting penalties. Some possible defenses may include: 

  • You did not have the intent to shoplift
  • You developed the intent to steal after entering the business 
  • Lack of evidence 
  • An illegal search or seizure

Can your California shoplifting conviction be expunged? 

Many defendants want to know if they can have their shoplifting conviction expunged from their record. While shoplifting charges are eligible for an expungement, every case is different. That is why it is in your best interest to secure the services of a reputable San Diego shoplifting attorney to see if your charges can be sealed from your permanent record. Contact attorney Joni Eisenstein today at 760-721-3161 to learn more about your options.  

Fight a California Shoplifting Charge 

With the help of a San Diego County shoplifting defense attorney, you have a good shot at getting your charges dropped or reduced. A skilled attorney will consult with you to understand the ins and outs of your case so she can put forward your best possible defense. If you have been charged with shoplifting in San Diego, you should get guidance from a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in the San Diego courts. The Law Office of Joni Eisenstein can help you navigate your shoplifting charges and get you the best results for your situation. 

Call our office today to schedule your free consultation at 760-721-3161. 

Schedule your free consultation today. Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Joni Eisenstein.

What are the benefits of sealing a juvenile record?

It is in the best interest of you and your child to have the juvenile record sealed for a number of important reasons. A sealed juvenile record allows you to truthfully state that you have no criminal history when applying for a job or apartment, obtaining certain licenses or applying to an educational institution. The conviction will also fail to appear on any background checks. This will significantly impact the quality of life you can have as an adult, eliminating some of the stigma that comes with being a convicted criminal offender. 

Another benefit of sealing your juvenile record is peace of mind. It can be liberating to know that you have obtained a clean slate in life and that you will no longer have to worry about your past mistakes. The emotional and psychological impact this can have is significant and can result in many positive outcomes for a young adult. 

Who is eligible to have their juvenile record sealed?

Not every juvenile is eligible to have their record expunged in the state of California. Certain criteria must be met in order to apply to have your records sealed: 

  • You are over the age of 18
  • You do not have any convictions as an adult for serious felonies or misdemeanors that involve moral turpitude such as murder, fraud, theft, sex offenses and drug offenses 
  • Your juvenile crimes are not under any pending litigation 

Get Assistance with Your Juvenile Record Expungement 

If you are not eligible for an automatic sealing of your juvenile record, you should contact a reputable attorney to guide you through the process and represent you in the courts. The process can take 8-10 months, so it benefits you to work with an attorney who has helped other clients navigate the expungement process. Joni Eisenstein is an experienced expungement and juvenile crime attorney in San Diego County. She can work with you and your child to get you the best chance to get the records sealed. 

Call the Law Office of Joni Eisenstein today to schedule your free consultation. Our attorney will speak with you about your unique situation and provide you with expert legal advice to help you through the juvenile record sealing process in San Diego. 

If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now

Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.