Shoplifting Lawyer Los Angeles

Shoplifting in Los Angeles is a crime of theft that could have a number of potential punishments. A suspected shoplifter is usually contacted and detained by store security right after being noticed taking items from the vendor without spending for it.

A commonly asked question by those accused of the offense is exactly what would be the probable consequences and how are they going to be treated by the criminal justice system and the Court. The actual answer to that question depends on exactly what actions are done by the accused shoplifter immediately after the event.

In case the individual gets to be proactive and seeks the help of a Los Angeles attorney, the result can, and often will be very different from those that did absolutely nothing and buried their head in the sand hoping it will all disappear.

As a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer defending clients charged with shoplifting and theft for many years, our offices possess the firsthand knowledge and expertise to fix these particularly embarrassing cases and work on obtaining a disposition that, on many occasions, does not produce a criminal conviction that will haunt an individual for the rest of their lives.

Sadly, many individuals make the significant error of listening to friends who have been arrested or so-called experts they met in prison, as well as other non-legal professionals who tell them to save their money and go to Court and plead no contest for probation. The long lasting effects of this decision could be disastrous. Companies are more and more doing exhaustive criminal records investigations on potential employees and consider a shoplifting conviction as a really serious act of dishonesty, justifying the denial of employment.

A criminal defense attorney Los Angeles who understands the local customs and practices of the Court can often find an alternative choice to a criminal conviction, for example: civil compromise with the shop, informal diversion, city lawyer alternative disposition, conditional dismissal, infraction adjudications, reductions to non-theft offenses, dismissals due to lack of the evidence, are all methods that can be utilized in a shoplifting case to reduce the result.

Our firm aims to find ways to assist our clients avoid a permanent scar on their record when cited or charged for shoplifting. For example, in cases affecting second time offenders, in case retained right after the event, theft charges can be resolved by applying a counseling plan with recognized providers. Additionally, we will go to Court for the client when needed, sparing our unnerved clients the humiliation of a public appearance before a Judge in an open Court of Law.

A typically asked question regarding a shoplifting arrest is whether or not the District Lawyer needs to have a videotape of the act so as to convict in Court. The easy answer to that question is no. A shoplifting case commonly involves observations by loss prevention officers, additional eyewitnesses and admissions and possible confessions by the accused.

The good news is that a seasoned lawyer can frequently punch substantial openings in the case to raise reasonable doubt so that you can either get the charges decreased or dismissed in most cases.

When considering a lawyer to protect you on a shoplifting case you must find a lawyer who has a track record of great results. Our firm has such a history. What is imperative in all of the Los Angeles shoplifting cases is obtaining a defense attorney as soon as the individual is released from custody.

Our firm tries to begin speak to with store counsel on many occasions and negotiate what some call as a “civil compromise” wherein the client will pay statutory civil penalties and costs to the victim in exchange for a commitment not to seek criminal prosecution.

Los Angeles Shoplifting Offense

Although the term “shoplifting” frequently invokes images of kids stealing bubblegum and candy from the local convenience store, in reality, the offense carries with it hefty penalties. Those caught for shoplifting in Los Angeles face charges ranging from a disorderly persons offense up to an indictment for a second degree crime, and calls for an attorney in our wisdom.

Every attorney at our Law Firm is ready to defend you against these serious accusations. Our law firm deals with shoplifting cases in Los Angeles and statewide. The lawyers at our Law Firm will make sure that your interests are protected each and every step of the way. Contact us right now for a absolutely free consultation.

Los Angeles Shoplifting Law

Shoplifting shall consist of any one or more of the these acts:

(1) For any individual purposely to take possession of, take away, move or cause to be carried away or transferred, any goods displayed, kept, stored or presented for sale by every store or other retail mercantile establishment with the aim of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or advantage of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such individual without having to pay to the merchant the total retail value thereof.

(2) For any individual deliberately to hide upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or any other retail mercantile establishment with the aim of depriving the merchant of the processes, use or benefit of such products or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof.

(3) For any individual purposely to alter, transfer or take away any label, price tag or marking indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any goods displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment and to attempt to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value thereof.

(4) For any person purposely to transfer any items displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail items establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof.

(5) For any person purposely to under-ring with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof.

(6) For any person purposely to remove a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant given at the time of such removal with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such cart.

Additional Information on Shoplifting

It really is worth remembering that an individual can only be punished for this offense if he/she acted with purpose, this means that there has to be some intention on the part of the accused to take without having to pay. Nevertheless, the state can easily satisfy its burden of proof by demonstrating that the defendant purposefully hid the items, which is prima facie proof of the intent to completely deprive.

Even so, this intention requirement generally provides fertile ground for defense strategies. An individual has committed a shoplifting offense if he/she, (1) takes or carries away goods offered for sale, (2) hides or conceals merchandise, (3) switches or alters price tags, (4) transfers goods from one container to another, (5) under-rings at the register, or (6) gets rid of a shopping cart from the store.

Most commonly, an individual is detained prior to leaving the place and accused of hiding or concealing goods. A law enforcement office could detain a shoplifting suspect for a good period of time and in a reasonable manner upon having probable cause to believe that the suspect “willfully concealed unpurchased products.” On top of that, the officer must believe that “he can recover the merchandise by taking the individual into custody.” Whether or not the detention was reasonable is a ruling to be made by the court. If the judge finds that the officer effectuating the detention did not act fairly, criminal and/or civil charges might result.

An attorney from our Los Angeles law firm will make sure that the prosecution fulfills its burden of proof and, if he does not, the case is dismissed and/or downgraded.

Mandatory Jail and Mandatory Community Service Penalties

For most states, the shoplifting statute requires community service for a very first offense, second offense and third offense. Just for the first offense, the offender must perform ten days of community service. For the second offense, fifteen days of community service, and for the third or following offense, a maximum of 25 days may be imposed. More importantly, in case you are determined guilty of a third offense, you’ll be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of 3 months jail time.

You should keep in mind nonetheless, that an accused could possibly be subjected to prison on a first offense or second offense if an indictable shoplifting offense is involved. If someone is indicted for a fourth degree, third degree, or higher offense, then the sentencing and jail provisions within the criminal code will now apply.

Given the effects associated with accumulating shoplifting convictions, as well as the jail involved with indictable offenses, it is very important that you get a criminal defense lawyer who can assist you to avoid the numerous pitfalls that revolve around this area of the law.Each and every attorney at our law firm is knowledgeable in taking on shoplifting charges in Los Angeles.

Contact Information

Law Offices of Todd Melnik
20920-B Warner Center Lane
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Telephone: 818-995-7777