Shoplifting Laws & Penalties in California

Shoplifting is a serious theft offense in California that can lead to severe legal consequences. In this blog post, we will discuss the various laws and penalties associated with shoplifting in California, and provide useful tips to help you avoid getting into trouble with the law.

California Shoplifting Law

California Penal Code 459.5 defines shoplifting as entering a commercial establishment with the intent to steal merchandise worth $950 or less. Shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods and the defendant's prior criminal record.

Penalties for Shoplifting in California

If you are caught shoplifting in California, you may face the following legal consequences:

  • Fines: Shoplifting fines in California can range from $50 to $1,000, depending on the value of the stolen goods.
  • Probation: A judge may order you to serve probation, which can last up to three years, during which time you will have to comply with certain conditions, such as attending counseling sessions, performing community service, and staying away from the store you stole from.
  • Jail Time: If you are convicted of shoplifting, you may face up to six months in jail for a misdemeanor offense, or up to three years in prison for a felony offense.
  • Civil Penalties: If you are caught shoplifting, the store owner may also sue you in civil court for damages, which can include the value of the stolen goods, as well as any additional costs associated with the theft, such as security measures.

How to Avoid Shoplifting Charges

To avoid getting into trouble with the law, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • Don't steal: The best way to avoid getting into trouble with the law is to not steal in the first place. If you need something, save up and buy it legally.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: When you enter a store, be aware of your surroundings and the security measures in place. Don't try to steal when there are security cameras or guards around.
  • Understand the consequences: Before you decide to steal, understand the legal consequences of your actions. Is it worth risking fines, probation, jail time, and a criminal record?

By understanding the laws and penalties associated with shoplifting, and following the useful tips provided in this blog post, you can avoid getting into trouble with the law and protect your future.

If you have been charged with shoplifting in California, it is important to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Christian Kim can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need to fight your charges and protect your rights.

Contact us today at (714) 576-2935 for more information.