These are tough economic times. During such periods when unemployment rates are high, it is natural to see an increase in property crimes, particularly shoplifting. It is an established fact that those facing financial hardships are more likely to shoplift to pay bills or put food on the table. A number of first-time shoplifters tend to be those who do it out of desperation. However, regardless of the motive for committing shoplifting, the law is the law. Those who are convicted for shoplifting could still face possible jail time, community service, probation, and fines.
Shoplifting is defined by California Penal Code 484 & 488 as an act of purposely taking merchandise from a store without paying for the item. A person only needs to possess the item with the intent of leaving without paying for it for a shoplifting arrest to be made. Concealing an item or altering the price of an item may also result in shoplifting charges in California. The penalties an alleged shoplifter will face depend on the value of the items stolen and the criminal history of the defendant.
During difficult economic periods there is often a great increase in shoplifting cases. Normally law-abiding California citizens may become desperate and use poor judgment. These single acts should not result in prison time or heavy fines. A skilled criminal defense attorney will fight to have these charges reduced or thrown out. Alternative sentencing such as community service are possible, especially in cases where the defendant has no prior criminal record.
The Los Angeles shoplifting defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan believe that individuals deserve to be treated fairly no matter what their financial status is. Everyone deserves to be heard. Call our law offices at 1-866-430-8383 to find out how we can help defend your rights.