Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in San Diego, especially among juvenile offenders. If you or a loved one has been accused of shoplifting, please call a top San Diego criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
While most people only think of taking something from a store without paying for it as shoplifting, the crime also covers price tag switching and eating food inside a grocery store without paying for it. In most instances, shoplifting is charged as petty theft, which is a misdemeanor, but if the merchandise stolen is valued at over $950, the crime will likely be charged as grand theft instead. Grand theft can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor and most first time offenders will usually be charged with a misdemeanor the stolen items were particularly valuable. If the theft is charged as a felony, the offender could face up to three years in prison. If the amount of theft is under $50 a lawyer may be able to get the case reduced to an infraction. Alternatively, with some stores, it is also possible to work out a civil compromise where the charges are dropped.
Sometimes, shoplifters will instead be accused of burglary rather than theft if the prosecutors and police had reason to believe the defendant entered the property with the intent to shoplift. Shoplifters may also be charged with robbery if the they physically resisted arrest. Both burglary and robbery are felony crimes, but in many of these cases, a skilled San Diego criminal attorney may be able to have the charges reduced or to negotiate a plea bargain that will minimize the sentence of the shoplifter.
There are many defenses to shoplifting available to San Diego criminal lawyers. If you were stopped before you left the store, your attorney may be able to fight the charges by pointing out that you still had intended to pay for the merchandise before leaving the store, but were denied such an opportunity.
If you or someone you know have been accused of shoplifting, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consulation with San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Daniel Lobo