Redwood City Shoplifting Lawyer
Have you been charged with shoplifting in Redwood City, California? You might be frightened and overwhelmed by the experience. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal process.
Since 2005, our Redwood City criminal defense lawyers have won more than 3,000 cases and have over 30 years of combined experience in criminal law matters. Our team includes a nationally published defense author and a California State Bar Certified Specialist in criminal law.
We are passionate about helping people charged with criminal offenses in Redwood City. We believe everyone deserves an effective defense. We will fight fiercely to protect your legal rights and obtain the best possible outcome for your criminal case.
How Our Redwood City Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help if You’ve Been Charged with Shoplifting in Redwood City, California
Shoplifting might not sound like a serious criminal offense. No one was injured, and you are only taking property. However, the penalties for shoplifting convictions can be severe, and you will have a criminal record that can have serious consequences going forward.
Our California criminal defense lawyers are recognized by national organizations for their legal experience and commitment to clients, including Super Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100. List and Top 40 Under 40 list. We also have top ratings with Avvo and our clients because of our unfailing commitment to providing compassionate, trusted legal representation.
When you hire Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, you can trust that we will:
- Investigate the shoplifting charges against you to gather information and evidence
- Analyze the evidence the prosecution has against you to determine weaknesses or violations of your rights
- Explain your legal options and the pros and cons of entering a plea deal or going to trial
- Develop a defense strategy, including possible mitigating factors
- Negotiate with the prosecutor to obtain a favorable plea agreement, if that is the best strategy
- Prepare your case and advocate for you in court, if a plea deal is not in your best interests
We understand that you may be stressed and feeling alone. Our legal team is here to help you by providing sound legal advice, support, and guidance. Call us today to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with an experienced shoplifting defense lawyer in Redwood City, CA.
Overview of California Shoplifting Laws in Redwood City
California Penal Code §459.5 defines shoplifting as:
- Entering a commercial establishment with it is open during regular business hours;
- With the intent to commit larceny;
- When the value of the property taken or intended to be taken does not exceed $950.
A commercial establishment is defined as a business that exchanges services or goods. Note that the definition of shoplifting does not mandate that you left the store with the items. It only requires the prosecutor to prove that you intended to shoplift.
Shoplifting includes taking something out of a store without paying. It also includes switching price tags so that you do not pay the actual price of the items. Concealing an item in another item with the intent of leaving the store could also result in shoplifting charges in Redwood City.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Redwood City, CA?
Retail shoplifting is a misdemeanor charge. The penalty for a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction is a maximum fine of $1,000 and a sentence of county jail of up to six months.
In addition to jail time and a fine, the judge could also sentence you to:
- Pay restitution to the store
- Complete community service hours
- Attend a mandatory anti-theft class
A judge could sentence the person to summary probation instead of jail time. However, that depends on the circumstances of the case, your criminal history, and other factors.
In addition to the criminal penalties, a store owner could make a civil demand. The civil demand can be up to $500 for the cost of the stolen item and other damages. If you receive a civil demand letter, contact a shoplifting attorney immediately.
Our Redwood City shoplifting lawyers at Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law work to have your charges dismissed. If a plea bargain is in your best interest, we diligently work with the prosecutor to negotiate a deal that does not include jail time whenever possible.
Potential Defenses to Redwood City Shoplifting Charges
Our lawyers use the facts and evidence in your case to develop an effective defense. The right defense strategy gives you the best chance of beating shoplifting charges. Potential defenses we use in shoplifting cases include:
With civil compromise, you agree to pay restitution for the stolen items and any losses associated with the shoplifting charges. The benefit of using civil compromise to resolve shoplifting charges is that you might avoid criminal prosecution. The prosecutor might agree to drop the charges once you meet all conditions of the agreement with the store owner.
Lack of Intent
In some cases, there could be a lack of intent to shoplift items from a store. If the evidence supports the defense, the prosecutor might drop the charges. The judge could dismiss the charges at a trial or find you not guilty.
Sometimes, the court might dismiss shoplifting charges if you complete specific requirements. The requirements could include paying restitution to the store owner, completing community service hours, and/or attending a theft education course.
Informal diversion could avoid a criminal record and criminal penalties. However, you must complete each requirement – otherwise, the court could impose the original sentence for a guilty plea.
Shoplifting charges require that you enter the store with the intent to steal something. Therefore, your attorney might argue that you did not decide to shoplift until you were inside the store. That is when you decide to steal something.
Can I Have a Shoplifting Charge Expunged in California?
You could be eligible for an expungement of a shoplifting conviction in the State of California. An expungement can clean up your criminal record, which helps avoid many of the collateral consequences of being convicted of a criminal offense.
California passed the Clean Slate Act in October 2019. The law established an automatic expungement for many misdemeanor convictions. The eligibility requirements to have your shoplifting charge automatically expunged are as follows:
- Complete probation without any probation violations
- Complete any jail time ordered by the court
- No requirement to register as a sex offender
- You are currently not facing any other criminal charges
- You are not on probation or parole for another criminal offense
Additionally, you would need to complete any other terms of your probation or criminal sentence, such as paying restitution to the store owner and attending anti-theft classes. If your shoplifting conviction occurred before January 1, 2021, you would need to petition the court to expunge the shoplifting charges.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested for Shoplifting in Redwood City, CA?
Do not resist arrest if you are arrested for shoplifting in Redwood City. You could be charged with additional crimes if you run or resist arrest. You could also inflame the situation, possibly making it more dangerous for everyone.
Instead, follow the police instructions. However, do not answer questions or make a statement without a lawyer present. If the police officers ask questions, tell them you want an attorney. You cannot talk yourself out of the charges, but you could make it more challenging to defend yourself if you continue talking to the police.
While you wait for your lawyer, go over the incident in your mind. However, do not write down any details while in jail because you do not have any privacy.
Describe what happened in full detail when you meet with your Redwood City shoplifting lawyer. Do not hold anything back. Your attorney cannot effectively represent you unless they know everything.
Your attorney will work with you to try to secure your release on bail. After you are released from jail, follow your lawyer’s instructions and stay out of trouble pending the resolution of your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Redwood City Shoplifting Lawyers
Regardless of whether you are innocent or made a mistake, presenting a strong defense is the best way to protect your rights. Let’s begin preparing a defense to help you avoid the worst consequences of a shoplifting charge. Call our law office to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Redwood City shoplifting attorney.