Los Angeles Shoplifting Lawyer

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You’d be shocked to learn how many honest people get accused of, and convicted of, shoplifting every year. It’s easy to forget to hand something to the cashier, to not realize the self-checkout machine hasn’t actually scanned the barcode, or to accidentally leave something in the bottom of the buggy while using the self-checkout machine.

Sometimes if you’re tired and distracted you might even put something small into your purse or bag without thinking about it. There have even been cases where someone has gone in to exchange an item only for the cashiers or customer service folks to arbitrarily decide the first item was stolen.

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor but is still a serious charge.

For the charge to be shoplifting and not grand larceny, the total of the property stolen must be less than $950.

The law states it is shoplifting when you enter a commercial establishment during open hours with intent to take property you haven’t paid for.

You can be sentenced with up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. You may also be ordered to pay restitution. And if you have some prior convictions on your record the charge can get bumped up to a felony.

In addition, you will have a hard time finding a career in any position of trust. Getting convicted remains on your criminal record and has life long consequences.

Retailers are Ruthless

Often, retailers will begin demanding money even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime. This puts you in a bad position. If you pay the money, you might be out several hundred dollars you don’t owe. They even do this in cases where the property has been returned to them because the law allows them to demand anywhere from $50 to $500 regardless of the value of the property.

Paying could also be used in a criminal case as evidence you “confessed to” or “admitted to” committing the crime.

But if you don’t pay, you could wind up in collections, where the unfair debt will hurt your credit. You can also wind up getting sued.

Putting a good Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer on your side helps you navigate this problem and many others.

A photo of Venice Beach in Los Angeles

It may be easier to defend against false shoplifting charges than you think.

Sometimes a retailer doesn’t even send a representative to the criminal trial. They’re after the money. At that point, it may be possible to get the case dismissed for lack of evidence.

Like any other kind of theft, successfully convicting a defendant of a shoplifting charge requires the prosecution to show intent. If there was no intent, there was no crime. We’ve also been able to show store personnel misidentified their shoplifter.

A photo of a judge gavel in Los Angeles

What if you really were guilty, and got caught red-handed?

If we can’t get the charges dropped or dismissed because the prosecution has a strong case against you, we may be able to keep you out of jail by arranging a “civil compromise.” This would mean agreeing to pay for the damages or the property that was allegedly stolen.

Retailers who send you letters looking for cash may be setting you up for success here because the argument could be made they have already shown they are open to a civil compromise. Once the civil compromise is complete the charges are dropped and nothing goes on to your permanent record.

Failing that, we may be able to work out a favorable plea bargain, or sentencing which keeps you out of jail, such as an alternate resolution of some sort which lets you have the charge dismissed as long as you meet certain conditions the court will set.

While it’s impossible to predict what will happen in any criminal case, we do have many tools we can use on your behalf.

A private lawyer is your best bet!

While it may be tempting to leave your petty theft charge in the hands of public defenders, think twice. Public defenders push for plea bargains in the overwhelming majority of cases. You may not even see your PD until fifteen minutes before your pre-trial conference because their caseloads are so excessive. They generally can’t even show up to your arraignment, only your trial. If you want them to have anything helpful on hand for your case you generally have to go down to the PD’s office and file it yourself.

That’s not a lot of time to think about your decisions or even to receive counsel on what you should do.

While plea bargaining is appropriate in some cases you want to make sure you’re dealing with someone who understands your case, who can respond to it, and can mount a vigorous defense in search of a better outcome. It should not be the tool employed in every single criminal case.

We’re not disparaging PDs. These are good men and women. With 1000 cases a year. There are not enough hours in the day to do a great job on 1000 cases a year.

Meanwhile, we take the time to review your case and to work on it. We advocate vigorously on your behalf, and you will have access to us from the moment you retain us. And while it may be tempting to avoid having to pay legal fees on top of everything else, you should consider that you probably can’t afford not to have a lawyer.

The lifelong consequences of having this crime on your record are just too severe not to retain the best representation you can find.

Los Angeles Shoplifting Lawyer

inne-rpage-seperator

You’d be shocked to learn how many honest people get accused of, and convicted of, shoplifting every year. It’s easy to forget to hand something to the cashier, to not realize the self-checkout machine hasn’t actually scanned the barcode, or to accidentally leave something in the bottom of the buggy while using the self-checkout machine.

Sometimes if you’re tired and distracted you might even put something small into your purse or bag without thinking about it. There have even been cases where someone has gone in to exchange an item only for the cashiers or customer service folks to arbitrarily decide the first item was stolen.

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor but is still a serious charge.

For the charge to be shoplifting and not grand larceny, the total of the property stolen must be less than $950.

The law states it is shoplifting when you enter a commercial establishment during open hours with intent to take property you haven’t paid for.

You can be sentenced with up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. You may also be ordered to pay restitution. And if you have some prior convictions on your record the charge can get bumped up to a felony.

In addition, you will have a hard time finding a career in any position of trust. Getting convicted remains on your criminal record and has life long consequences.

Retailers are Ruthless

Often, retailers will begin demanding money even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime. This puts you in a bad position. If you pay the money, you might be out several hundred dollars you don’t owe. They even do this in cases where the property has been returned to them because the law allows them to demand anywhere from $50 to $500 regardless of the value of the property.

Paying could also be used in a criminal case as evidence you “confessed to” or “admitted to” committing the crime.

But if you don’t pay, you could wind up in collections, where the unfair debt will hurt your credit. You can also wind up getting sued.

Putting a good Los Angeles shoplifting lawyer on your side helps you navigate this problem and many others.

A photo of Venice Beach in Los Angeles

It may be easier to defend against false shoplifting charges than you think.

Sometimes a retailer doesn’t even send a representative to the criminal trial. They’re after the money. At that point, it may be possible to get the case dismissed for lack of evidence.

Like any other kind of theft, successfully convicting a defendant of a shoplifting charge requires the prosecution to show intent. If there was no intent, there was no crime. We’ve also been able to show store personnel misidentified their shoplifter.

A photo of a judge gavel in Los Angeles

What if you really were guilty, and got caught red-handed?

If we can’t get the charges dropped or dismissed because the prosecution has a strong case against you, we may be able to keep you out of jail by arranging a “civil compromise.” This would mean agreeing to pay for the damages or the property that was allegedly stolen.

Retailers who send you letters looking for cash may be setting you up for success here because the argument could be made they have already shown they are open to a civil compromise. Once the civil compromise is complete the charges are dropped and nothing goes on to your permanent record.

Failing that, we may be able to work out a favorable plea bargain, or sentencing which keeps you out of jail, such as an alternate resolution of some sort which lets you have the charge dismissed as long as you meet certain conditions the court will set.

While it’s impossible to predict what will happen in any criminal case, we do have many tools we can use on your behalf.

A private lawyer is your best bet!

While it may be tempting to leave your petty theft charge in the hands of public defenders, think twice. Public defenders push for plea bargains in the overwhelming majority of cases. You may not even see your PD until fifteen minutes before your pre-trial conference because their caseloads are so excessive. They generally can’t even show up to your arraignment, only your trial. If you want them to have anything helpful on hand for your case you generally have to go down to the PD’s office and file it yourself.

That’s not a lot of time to think about your decisions or even to receive counsel on what you should do.

While plea bargaining is appropriate in some cases you want to make sure you’re dealing with someone who understands your case, who can respond to it, and can mount a vigorous defense in search of a better outcome. It should not be the tool employed in every single criminal case.

We’re not disparaging PDs. These are good men and women. With 1000 cases a year. There are not enough hours in the day to do a great job on 1000 cases a year.

Meanwhile, we take the time to review your case and to work on it. We advocate vigorously on your behalf, and you will have access to us from the moment you retain us. And while it may be tempting to avoid having to pay legal fees on top of everything else, you should consider that you probably can’t afford not to have a lawyer.

The lifelong consequences of having this crime on your record are just too severe not to retain the best representation you can find.

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