California Shoplifting Laws & Defense
Penal Code 459.5
Information on the crime of Shoplifting is found at California Penal code Section 459.5.
Shoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment while the establishment is open during regular business hours with the intent to commit larceny where the value of the property taken does not exceed $950. Any act of shoplifting must be charged as shoplifting and may not be charged as burglary or theft.
Shoplifting was formaly charged under the unbrella of "petty theft" crimes, which used to be charged under PC 484. The new crime of "Shoplifting" charged as PC 459.5 is a relatively new criminal charge in California and was drafted as a result of the passing of prop 47, which was passed by the California voters in November 2014.
The reason for the distinction in criminal charges between petty theft and shoplifting have to do with the circumstances under which the general crime of theft is committed, i.e., commercial building during regular business hours as opposed to non-commercial theft.
If found guilty of Shoplifting under PC 459.5, the defendant faces up to six months in the county jail. In addition to possible jail time, if found guilty of shoplifting under PC 459.5 the defendant may suffer immigration consequences (for non-U.S. citizens), professional licensing revocation, fines, restitution, probation terms, and other harsh consequences.
Defenses to the crimes of Shoplifting charged as PC 459.5 include all of the defenses for petty theft, including lack of intent to permanently deprive the shop owner of the commercial property, mistake of fact, insanity, intoxication, and insufficient evidence to prove the charge.
In some cases of shoplifting charges it may be possible to reduce the criminal charge and/or or the jail sentence associated with PC 459.5. In other cases, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed completely depending on the evidence of each individual case.
To learn more about the crime of Shoplifting and penal code 459.5, contact criminal defense attorney Christopher Dorado today. There is never a fee for a first in-office consultation and our criminal defense attorneys are available 24/7 to answer all of your questions.
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