Shoplifting refers to taking merchandise or items unlawfully from a store. In California, shoplifting falls under theft laws. In case you are charged with shoplifting, petty theft or grand theft, it is important to understand the seriousness of these crimes as well as their consequences. If convicted, chances are very high that you will face possible probation, hefty fines and jail time. Besides, a shoplifting conviction will go into your criminal record, which makes it difficult for you to get a professional license or a job, thus affecting your future and career. It is for this reason that you should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense representative if you are faced with shoplifting charges. The lawyer will represent you properly and fight for your rights throughout the process.
Shoplifting laws in California are clear and they fall under the theft laws. Anyone who wrongfully takes, carries, drives away or steals the personal possessions of another person can be charged with shoplifting. Also, anyone who deceitfully appropriates assets which have been assigned to them, or who shall designedly and knowingly, con any other human being of labor, money or real or personal assets, or who shall cause or procure other people to report fallaciously of their wealth or business character and therefore compelling upon anyone, gets credit and so fraudulently gets possession of property or money or obtains the service of another person, is responsible of theft.
Shoplifting can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the conditions of the incident, the person’s prior criminal record as well as the value of the items or merchandise that was taken. Mostly, shoplifting is charged as a misdemeanor, unless the defendant was previously convicted of a severe crime such as burglary, robbery and grand theft among others. If the stolen merchandise is below $950, the defendant is likely to face petty theft charges, misdemeanor. If the merchandise is worth over $950, the defendant might face grand theft charges, which is a felony.
There are several possible defenses to shoplifting charges and one does not have to automatically plead guilty to the charges. To be convicted of shoplifting, the prosecutor has to prove that you took the said item with the intent of stealing it and without the intention of returning it to the store. On the other hand, if you had no intention to steal an item, you can’t be found guilty of shoplifting. For instance, if you inattentively picked something from a store and forgot to make payment for it, you cannot get a shoplifting conviction. If someone permitted you to take the merchandise, or the item legally belonged to you, you could not be convicted.
In case you are charged with shoplifting, contact experienced criminal defense attorney, Robert E. Levy, to help you with your case. Robert E. Levy will personally analyze all the evidence available and fight hard to make sure that your charges are reduced or dismissed. Contact our law firm today before discussing your case with the media or authorities.
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