San Diego Shoplifting Attorney
Quality Defense from a Former Police Officer
Shoplifting is a form of theft that involves stealing goods from a store. Unless the value of goods taken exceeds $950, shoplifting is charged as petty theft and is usually charged as a misdemeanor. This can carry time in jail and excessive fines. Shoplifting charges are usually backed by strong physical evidence, such as video surveillance, recovered property, and even witness testimony. For this reason, it is all the more important for you to work with a capable shoplifting attorney who can protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly throughout the legal process.
James N. Dicks is a San Diego criminal lawyer experienced in defending theft crime charges; he has the resources needed to be effective. As a former police officer and a certified criminal law specialist, Attorney James N. Dicks has a solid understanding of California state laws and penalties as they apply to shoplifting. This knowledge and experience is invaluable in helping clients attain alternative sentencing, lessened charges, or a winning verdict.
The Harsh Consequences of Shoplifting
While the penalties you face in your case will depend on several factors, you can expect to be up against serious consequences. Even though you may think your offense is minor, the criminal court system in San Diego doesn't take shoplifting charges lightly.
That is why the following penalties may be enforced:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- $1,000 in fines
- Restitution to the victim
- 3 years of probation
In cases that involve a large amount of shoplifted property, the defendant may face between one and three years behind bars. Further, you could be required to pay back the value of the property in excess to the property owner. Don't let your record be ruined over a shoplifting incident! Instead, come to JD Law for qualified counsel and representation.
Parental Liability in Shoplifting Cases
In some cases, a parent could be found liable for his or her child’s actions when it pertains to shoplifting. California Penal Code 490.5 states that when a child who is a minor (under the age of 21) shoplifts from a store or library, the parent can be held liable in addition to the child. That liability, however, is limited to $500. But that liability can be added to other forms of liability, making the penalties for the parent or guardian more severe.
California Penal Code 272 states that if a parent or guardian greatly contributes to the delinquency of a minor by grossly failing to provide proper supervision, reasonable care, protection, or control over the child, that parent or guardian can be found liable and have penalties imposed for that negligence. These penalties, however, will likely only be handed down in cases when the parent’s failure was severe, or when a parent should have known that the child was at risk for delinquency.
For example, if a teenager was shopping with her mother and snuck a shirt into her bag while her mother’s back was turned, the mother may be found liable for the smaller charge and have to pay the minimal fee of $500. But if the mother knew that her daughter had a history of shoplifting and allowed her to go into an electronic store unattended, where she then proceeded to steal several types of goods, the mother’s liability would be greater.
Parents who reasonably tried to control their child and were not successful will likely not be found liable for their child’s behavior.
Shoplifting, which is usually charged as a misdemeanor, can turn into an Estes robbery under certain circumstances. This crime is named after Curtis Estes who, in 1983, brandishes a knife towards a Sears security guard after he was caught shoplifting and threatened to kill the guard.
An Estes robbery in California occurs when a person has shoplifted from a store and, when confronted by a security guard or store employee, used force to hurt or push past the store employee to avoid arrest or further action. An Estes robbery is considered the same as other types of robberies and can be prosecuted as a felony in California.
If a person is found guilty of an Estes robbery in the first degree, the penalties can be as high as six years in prison. A lesser conviction of an Estes robbery in the second degree can carry a penalty of up to two, three, or five years in prison.
However, it is important to note that in cases where the security guard or store employee initiated the use of force, a person may not be charged with an Estes robbery if he was simply trying to defend himself or avoid being hurt.
We highly advise that if you are approached by a store employee and asked if you have stolen an item to comply with the store employees in order to avoid more serious charges. In many cases, simply cooperating with the store and promising not to visit again may be enough to get the entire case dropped.
Defending Shoplifting Charges in San Diego, California
In shoplifting cases, the specific intent of the defendant does not need to be proven, as in some other theft crimes. Instead, physical evidence and witness testimony play a big part in a verdict. By having a skilled San Diego criminal attorney at your side, you have the chance to avoid a conviction. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate having the charges lessened to an infraction, which will not appear on your criminal record. Don’t risk spending months or over a year in jail because of shoplifting.
Don't take a chance with your future and your reputation. Contact JD Law at (760) 630-2000 today!