Theft Offenses

Petty Theft And Shoplifting

Have you been cited or arrested for a shoplifting offense?


etty theft, commonly referred to as shoplifting, is a misdemeanor offense that can lead to court hearings, fines, and probation. Typically, officers are called to the retail store or location of the shoplifting and they issue a citation with a person’s promise to appear in court. For many people, this is their first interaction with law enforcement and it can be a scary and emotional experience.

If you have been cited for shoplifting it is important to contact an experienced petty theft and shoplifting attorney who can advise you on how to handle the court process and help mitigate the consequences of this mistake. Please call us today for a free consultation to learn more about how he can help you minimize the impact of this offense on your life.

Stores spend a lot of money to prevent shoplifting from occurring at their establishment. The stores have both uniformed and undercover loss prevention employees who are watching store guests both on the sales floor and by cameras in the ceilings. Sometimes they cannot act fast enough to detain the person committing the theft but will make note of that person and if they ever return will be on high alert and detain them the next time. If they suspect a guest of shoplifting they will detain and question the person and then call the police to make the arrest for shoplifting. The police will then issue a citation which requires the person to go to court for the charge of shoplifting, which will be listed on the citation as a violation of penal code section 484 – 488 or petty theft. If you have received one of these citations call us today at (619) 333-0505 to see how we can help you.

Consequences and How We Can Help

A shoplifting citation is often the first contact a person has with law enforcement and there are many questions that need to be answered:

What are the possible consequences of a petty theft?

Under the law, you could get up to 6 months in jail. However, for a first offense shoplifting offense in San Diego county you are looking at a misdemeanor conviction on your record, three years of probation, a fine of approximately $635, one day of custody which involves going to a local jail for a booking and release procedure, a shoplifting course, and you will be ordered to stay away from the location of the shoplifting.

For a second offense, you are looking at the same conditions of a misdemeanor on your record, probation, $635 fine, stay away order, and the court will impose 10 days of public work service which is where you must pick up trash on the side of the road or work at a dump, or some other public service no one else wants to do.With a fourth petty theft offense, the prosecution can charge it as a felony offense.

Will I have to go to court for my shoplifting case?

Yes. The officer provided you with a citation that contains your court date. You will have to report to the assigned court on the date given for your arraignment. That is your first court date where you decided whether you will plead not guilty or guilty.

Can I avoid going to court?

Yes. For misdemeanor offenses, such as shoplifting, if you hire an attorney, the attorney can attend the court hearings on your behalf. You would never need to go in to a courtroom unless you decide to take your case to trial.

 Do I need to hire an attorney for my petty theft or shoplifting case?

It depends on what you want to do with your case. When you hire our office, you are hiring an affordable and experienced petty theft and shoplifting lawyers who will work to mitigate the consequences of the petty theft offense right from the start.

One of our experienced attorneys will develop a plan specific to your case that will be designed to convince the prosecution to either reduce the charge to an petty theft infraction–which is important for your record, and/or work on ways to try to get the prosecution to dismiss the case. This may require more than one court hearing and possibly a negotiation with the prosecutor.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, a petty theft and shoplifting charge can have serious consequences to your immigration status. It is important to contact an attorney who has experience dealing with shoplifting and immigration consequences. we work closely with several immigration attorneys to ensure that the criminal case for shoplifting does not interfere or cause immigration problems.

Contact our office today to see how we can answer any questions you may have and help with your petty theft and shoplifting case. The consultation is free and there is no obligation, so why not see how we can help you out with your case.

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