Understanding California Shoplifting & Petty Theft Charges

Shoplifting is one of the most commonly prosecuted criminal offenses, as well as an offense committed by people from all walks of life. As a theft crime, shoplifting is defined as the unlawful taking of another's property. Although it may be a common offense, shoplifting still poses serious penalties and long-term consequences.

Shoplifting charges depend on several factors, including the value of property taken and a person's criminal history or prior shoplifting convictions. Petty theft is most commonly associated with shoplifting. This offense involves the theft of property valued at $950 or less. Theft involving property valued at more than $950 is considered grand theft.

Petty theft can occur in many ways, including concealing merchandise or changing or removing price tags. Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense. Penalties may include fines up to $1,000, up to six months imprisonment, or both. The repercussions of having a theft crime conviction on one's record may also result in negative consequences, such as when convicted individuals apply for a job.

Shoplifting is a serious allegation with equally serious consequences, but being accused does not mean that one is guilty. A number of defenses may apply in these cases, including situations where shoppers did not intend to steal or shoplift property, owned the property in question, or were wrongly identified. Experienced attorneys can review the circumstances surrounding an arrest to determine the most appropriate defense or legal strategy with the goal of avoiding or minimizing penalties.

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged for shoplifting or any other theft crime, our Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense attorneys at Chung & Ignacio, LLP can help. Contact our firm today to learn more about your case.