Shoplifting and petty theft are similar but different crimes under California law. Knowing the difference between these is vital for the theft crimes lawyer you choose to defend you. However, you should also know more about these laws to better understand what convictions of each could incur.
Per Penal Code 459.5, shoplifting is entering a business during operating hours and intending to steal no more than $950 worth of goods. Entering the business at other times changes the charge to a burglary. When someone has a charge of shoplifting, they cannot also be charged with theft or burglary at the same location. Therefore, you cannot have both petty theft and shoplifting charges for the same offense. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor charge that comes with up to six months in county jail, fines up to $1,000, or both.
Petty theft falls under Penal Code 488 and distinguishes itself from grand theft by the value of the goods stolen. Grand theft charges happen when theft of goods worth more than $950 occurs. Petty theft charges happen when the items stolen add up to less than this amount.
A conviction for petty theft, which is a misdemeanor, can come with fines up to $1,000, up to six months in county jail, or both.
Why the Distinction Between Shoplifting and Petty Theft Is Important
Shop lifting focuses on the intent of stealing from a commercial establishment during business hours while petty theft is the actual taking of something without the owner knowing it. The distinction between shoplifting and petty theft is important because having either on your record could impact future cases. A qualified lawyer can provide more information about why your case was charged as shoplifting or petty theft.
Contact the Law Office of Steven K. Bloom for Defense of Theft Crimes in Orange County
Both shop lifting and petty theft fall under theft crimes. You should have a qualified defense attorney working on your case to provide you with the support and legal advice you need. In Orange County, Steven K. Bloom is the defense lawyer whom many turn to with his decades of experience helping people in court.
You do not have to feel alone in defending shoplifting or petty theft charges. If you are arrested and charged with either of these, contact Steven K. Bloom for a consultation.