San Diego Petty Theft Lawyer
Best San Diego Shoplifting Attorney – Aggressive Petty Theft Defense (Penal Code Sections 484, 488 and 459.5.) Law Office
Looking for the best local San Diego petty theft crimes lawyer and shoplifting attorney? Our law office is a good choice to consider as we bring years of experience, close to 100% success rate and have the resources to aggressively defend you.
Petty Theft & Shoplifting Defined
Crimes that involve theft or unlawful taking of another’s property are charged under the California Penal Code Sections 484, 488 and 459.5. There are differences based on the value of the property, nature and circumstances of the crime, the previous record and age of the offender etc. and there are different terms used to classify these crimes, ranging from burglary, larceny, embezzlement, shop-lifting, petty crime etc based on the value and nature of the stolen property.
Shop-lifting or petty theft is defined as entering a commercial or retail establishment during business hours with the intention of stealing goods. Based on the value of the goods, penalties are imposed. For goods worth less than $50, with no previous record, it is deemed an infraction and the penalties include fines up to $250. If the value of goods is between $50-950, this may be charged as a misdemeanor and invokes mandatory fines $50-1000 and up to six months’ imprisonment even for a first offense. Apart from criminal prosecution, the accused may also face civil charges under tort laws to compensate the victim of shop-lifting or petty crime. Damages ranging from $50-500 and if the merchandise is not recovered in a salable condition, its retail value. If the shoplifter is a minor, the parents or legal guardians are held responsible under civil laws.
Petty theft crimes are charged under Sections 484 and 488 like other thefts, but the difference lies in the value of the goods which should be below $950. The goods taken should not be a firearm, automobile, horse, fruits and nuts or shellfish/aqua products worth more than $250. Types of petty theft include theft by larceny, false pretense, trick or embezzlement. Shop-lifting also falls under this category. If the offender is a first-time accused, with no previous record of theft-related convictions and the value of goods is less than $950, the penalties may be reduced to charges of infraction, with a fine and a diversion program. This depends on the expertise, knowledge and legal acumen of your lawyer. Often, the penalties may include enrollment in an educational program, community service or attendance in anti-theft classes or counseling.
Defenses For Petty Theft And Shoplifting
Several defenses are possible in the case of shop-lifting or petty crimes. The defense can attempt to prove that the person did not intend to steal or shop-lift the goods, that the goods actually belonged to the person, or the owner consented to your taking them or that it is a false accusation.
There are pre-trial diversion programs and plea bargains available in the California legal process which are subject to the previous record and age of the accused, value of the goods, nature of the crime and the circumstances of the case. If found eligible for a diversion program, the accused has to fulfill certain obligations like court mandated community service, making restitution or counseling. Otherwise, a plea bargaining process may help to reduce the charges or sentencing.
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Shop-lifting and petty crimes are dealt with severely in California and you require an excellent San Diego petty theft attorney to defend you.