Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges in CaliforniaCalifornia state law defines shoplifting as entering a commercial establishment during regular open business hours with the intent to commit larceny, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).

In most cases, shoplifting is a misdemeanor offense in California. The penalties for a conviction include up to six months in county jail and up to $1000 in fines. Under certain circumstances, such as a prior conviction or if the value of the taken property exceeded $950, you could be charged with a felony. A conviction for felony theft could cost you up to $10,000 in fines and up to three years in county jail.

It doesn’t matter if you didn’t make it out the door with the merchandise. In order to get a conviction, the prosecutor only has to show that you entered the business with the intent to commit theft. Under California’s statute of limitations laws, prosecutors have up to one from the date of the crime in which to file charges.

Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges in California

Shoplifting is a common crime in California. Retailers lose billions of dollars each year to shoplifting and other forms of theft. In response, they’ve taken a number of steps to prevent these losses, including installing exit alarms, instore surveillance cameras, and hiring onsite security personnel.

The problem is that these security measures aren’t perfect. As a result, innocent people are sometimes accused of crimes they didn’t intend to commit. If you’ve been mistakenly charged with shoplifting in Orange County, CA, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your legal rights. Depending on the details in your case, there may be several defense strategies available to you:

  • You didn’t intend to steal the property
  • The property actually belonged to you
  • You reasonably believed the property belonged to you
  • Mistaken identity
  • Faulty security devices
  • Illegal search or seizure

In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you intended to take the property when you entered the premises. This can be easier said than done, especially if you have a good defense attorney. All you have to do to get your case dismissed is convince at least one jury member that maybe you didn’t intentionally take the property you were accused of stealing.

Speak to an Orange County CA Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

A conviction for shoplifting in California can result in more than just jail time and fines. The conviction will remain on your public record, potentially making it difficult for you to find a job, attend the school of your choice, or obtain credit.

Contact the law office of Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim Tanizaki without delay. Jim is a former Orange County DA, which means he knows the tactics the state will use to get their conviction. His effective defense strategies often result in reduced or even dismissed charges.

You can reach us through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.