Shoplifting is not limited to the mere act of taking something from a store without paying for it. If you change the price tag on an item to avoid paying the full cost, or if you eat food in a grocery store without paying for it, you are shoplifting.
In California, shoplifting is most often charged as petty theft, a misdemeanor, or as grand theft, which may be a misdemeanor or felony. If the merchandise stolen was valued at more than $950, the crime will most likely be charged as grand theft. In some cases, shoplifters will even be accused of burglary, a felony, if prosecutors and police believe the defendant entered the store with the intent to steal. If you physically resisted the people who tried to arrest you, you may be charged with robbery instead, also a felony.
In most cases, first time offenders will generally be charged with a misdemeanor, but if the value of the stolen item was particularly high, the crime might still be a felony. If you are convicted of felony shoplifting, you could face up to three years in prison. Those arrested for the crime will be booked at the police station and subjected to fingerprinting and having their picture taken. This could even count against you if you are arrested in the future.
If you have been accused of shoplifting, please contact a skilled Vista theft attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Your defense lawyer may be able to show that if you were stopped before leaving the store, you still had the intent to pay for the merchandise but were stopped before you had the opportunity.
When you have been charged with shoplifting, it is critical you contact a skilled Vista theft lawyer like Peter M. Liss as soon as possible. Call (760) 643-4050 today to discuss your case.
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