Being convicted of a theft crime may have significant adverse consequences for your life. In fact, any theft crime conviction may make it difficult for you to obtain employment, housing, and loans. If you have been charged with shoplifting, for example, you need a skilled theft crime attorney on your side. With nearly 30 years of experience, Attorney Roseline D. Feral understands that the stakes are high whenever someone is facing a criminal charge, and she can provide aggressive representation to you at every step of the way. Navigating the legal process after being charged with a theft crime may be extremely daunting, and having a San Diego shoplifting lawyer on your side may be pivotal in defeating a charge.Fighting a Shoplifting Charge
In California, shoplifting is a type of theft offense that requires a specific intent. The crime of theft in California is defined as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. California Penal Code section 459.5 defines shoplifting as the following:
- Entering a commercial establishment with the intent to commit theft;
- While that establishment is open during regular business hours;
- When the value of the property that is stolen or intended to be stolen does not exceed $950.
An example of shoplifting would be a person who walks into a grocery store with the intent to steal food. As mentioned above, if a person steals items that are valued below the $950 value, they will be charged with misdemeanor shoplifting. It is important to note that you may be charged with shoplifting even if you do not succeed in stealing any items. What matters is that you had the “intent to take property.”
The severity of the penalties for shoplifting will depend on a number of factors, including the specific circumstances of your case as well as your criminal history. Subsequent theft offenses may result in more serious consequences. Generally, however, the punishment for shoplifting is up to six months in the county jail and a fine not exceeding $1,000, and the court may also impose probation. This is why it is important to avoid any delay in consulting a shoplifting attorney in San Diego as soon as you are charged with or suspected of shoplifting.
If you have been charged with shoplifting, there may be certain defenses available to you. Lack of intent is one of these defenses. California law requires the element of intent to be present for shoplifting. This means that you must have intended to take the property in question. If you forgot that you had the property, were distracted, or mistakenly walked out with the property, there would be no intent to steal.
Another possible defense might be that you believed that the item in question belonged to you. If you had a good-faith belief, even if it was wrong, that the item belonged to you, you could not have had the intent to steal that is required for a shoplifting conviction.
Other possible defenses may include situations in which a defendant was falsely accused or even framed for shoplifting, or in which the shopkeeper consented to their taking the item, in which case they were not stealing it. There also may be insufficient evidence against you to establish shoplifting. An attorney will be able to determine whether a defense applies in your case after carefully reviewing the details of what happened.Contact a Shoplifting Lawyer in San Diego or Surrounding Cities
If you or someone close to you is facing shoplifting charges, you should seek guidance from a criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights. You can rest assured that we can take the necessary steps to protect your future. San Diego shoplifting attorney Roseline D. Feral also represents people in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To discuss your situation in a fully confidential, no-obligation consultation, contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010, or you can call Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.