Much of the property crime in California comes from shoplifting and other forms of retail theft. We find that many people believe they know the facts about these cases but often they do not. Keep reading to get answers to some common questions. If you have additional questions, or you need a free legal consultation from an attorney, reach out to Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055.
What Are the Penalties for Charges of First-Offense Shoplifting?
The maximum is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. That said, these are the maximum – not mandatory – penalties. The range of punishments more likely to be doled out can include everything from a few hours of community service to restitution. The consequences for a shoplifting conviction will vary based on your criminal history, the value of what was stolen, and other factors.
Why Do I Need an Attorney if I Was Caught on Video?
If you were caught on the surveillance video, it may seem that there is no reason to hire an attorney. The common myth is that there are no defense options with this type of proof. That is false. It may be that the evidence against you was not legally obtained and therefore cannot be used. It may be that we can negotiate with prosecutors to have your charge reduced to an infraction. It is always worth a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.
Can I Have a Previous Shoplifting Charge Expunged?
If you qualify, then you can petition the court to have the charge expunged. Whether or not you qualify depends on if you have completed probation and if you spent time in jail. If you did spend time in jail, then you could not have the charge expunged until a year after the date of conviction.
Can I Lose My Professional License for a Shoplifting Conviction?
Possibly. It all depends on the specifics of your case. Shoplifting may be considered a crime that involves “moral turpitude,” which means that professional licensing bodies may consider you unfit for a license. In other instances, a misdemeanor will not disqualify you. If you are worried that you will lose your professional license, or will not be able to get a future professional license, discuss this concern when you work with your attorney.
Now is the Time to Get a Free Legal Consultation
There is no reason to wait – contact a criminal defense attorney today. You are not in this alone and this is not a charge you want to simply plead guilty to. No matter the evidence against you, no matter what you have already said to the police, it is worth talking to an attorney. You can reach Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request your free legal consultation.