Skip to Content

Orange County Shoplifting and Petty Theft Cases


Orange County Shoplifting Arrest Can Harm Your Record

A shoplifting charge, though a "Petty Theft" in California, denotes a special class of crimes called "Crimes of Moral Turpitude" referring to "crimes involving dishonesty" that can lead to court hearings, fines, and probation and even jail time. For many people, this is their first interaction with law enforcement and it can be a scary experience. Under the California Penal Code 490, Petty theft is punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both. California Penal Code 484 & 488 defines theft as the unlawful taking of another's property. The shoplifting offense can be committed by larceny, embezzlement or false pretenses. Although these are different ways to commit petty theft or shoplifting, the law makes no true distinction among them and consolidates them under one umbrella of "theft". In order to convict one of California petty theft per Penal Code 488, the prosecutor must prove only that the accused committed the crime of theft, and that the property was valued at $950 or less. There are situations where California courts have held that anintent to steal was present despite the fact that there was no substantial deprivation. These situations include taking an item to try to claim a reward for "finding it", taking an item, intending to sell it back to the owner and taking an item, intending to return it for a refund. The bottom line is that the intent to steal is always controlling in a California petty theft or shoplifting prosecution under Penal Code 488. If that intent is present, the courts will find a way to hold you accountable. Without that intent, there is no theft.

Shoplifting is one of the most common offenses that people get charged with and this misdemeanor can blemish your criminal record and prevent certain employment or seriously impact a person's professional license. If this is your first California petty theft charge and the value of the money, property, services, etc. that you allegedly stole was $50 or less, an experienced California petty theft attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charge to an infraction. A repeat offense carries a harsher penalty. Many people get wrongly arrested for California shoplifting and other petty theft offenses. You could be an innocent victim if someone else used you to divert attention away from him / herself. For example, X wanted to shoplift a neck tie and subtly placed it in your bag. Once security apprehended you, he left the store unnoticed. If you have been suspected of shoplifting, you need to contact an experienced petty theft and shoplifting attorney immediately who can advise you on your substantive rights and remedies. Contact Scott D. Hughes at (714) 423- 6928, a petty theft defense attorney of Orange County without delay if you are being accused of shoplifting and see how aggressively he defends your case in the court.

Share To: