Shoplifting and retail theft account for a significant percentage of property crime in California, and the percentage has steadily increased since the passage of Prop. 47 in 2014. As a result, our West Los Angeles based criminal defense firm has taken on significantly more shoplifting cases than in years past. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the five most frequently asked questions posed to us by prospective clients faced with shoplifting charges in Los Angeles. If you have been recently cited or arrested for shoplifting, you will likely have similar questions and may find the following explanations beneficial:
What kind of penalties am I facing on a 1st offense Shoplifting charge?
A first offense conviction for shoplifting carries up to 6 months in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. However, these are not mandatory punishments and only represent the maximum sentencing exposure you face if charged with shoplifting under California Penal Code 459.5. The range of punishment can vary depending on the facts of your case and your prior criminal history. Although jail time is rarely imposed on first offense shoplifting convictions, if you have a prior criminal record for non-theft related offenses or are currently on probation for a previous criminal conviction, a jail sentence could result if you were convicted of shoplifting even as a first offense. A typical 1st offense penalty usually involves a sentence of summary probation between 1 to 3 years, fines & penalty assessments, and/or community service or community labor.