Fresno Shoplifting Lawyer
Defending Clients Facing Shoplifting Charges in California
When facing shoplifting charges in California, it's crucial to have an experienced legal team on your side. Wapner Jones, PC is here to provide expert legal representation to those dealing with shoplifting allegations. We understand the stress and uncertainty of such accusations, and we are committed to helping you navigate this challenging situation.
Call Wapner Jones, PC today at (559) 257-4707 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our shoplifting attorney in Fresno!
What is Shoplifting?
Shoplifting is a criminal offense in which an individual unlawfully takes or steals merchandise from a retail store without the intention of paying for it. Shoplifting can take various forms, such as concealing items, switching price tags, or simply walking out of a store with merchandise. The primary elements that constitute shoplifting include:
- Intent: To be charged with shoplifting, it must be proven that you intended to permanently deprive the store of its merchandise without paying for it.
- Taking Possession: You don't necessarily have to leave the store to be charged with shoplifting. Even concealing items in your bag or clothing and intending to steal them can lead to charges.
- Merchant's Property: The stolen items must belong to the merchant or store.
Shoplifting is taken seriously in California, and convictions can have severe consequences. It's crucial to understand both the legal definition of shoplifting and the potential penalties associated with it.
What are the Penalties for Shoplifting in California?
Shoplifting penalties in California can vary depending on the value of the stolen merchandise and the defendant's prior criminal record. Generally, shoplifting is considered a "wobbler" offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If the value of the stolen merchandise is $950 or less, you may be charged with a misdemeanor shoplifting offense. The potential penalties for a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction may include:
- Up to one year in county jail
- Fines up to $1,000
- Restitution to the store owner for the value of the stolen items
If the stolen merchandise is valued at over $950 or you have a prior conviction for certain theft-related crimes, you may be charged with a felony shoplifting offense. Felony shoplifting carries more severe penalties, which can include:
- Imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months to three years
- Fines up to $10,000
- Restitution to the store owner
It's important to note that the consequences of a shoplifting conviction extend beyond potential jail time and fines. A criminal record can affect employment prospects, housing options, and more. Wapner Jones, PC is dedicated to helping you minimize these consequences and protecting your rights.
Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges
If you're facing shoplifting charges, there are several potential defenses that our experienced attorneys can explore on your behalf:
- Lack of Intent: Shoplifting requires the intent to steal merchandise. If it can be shown that you had no intention of stealing the items, you may have a valid defense.
- Mistaken Identity: In some cases, witnesses or store security may have misidentified the person involved. We can work to establish your innocence if this is the case.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: If evidence was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, it may not be admissible in court.
- Duress: If you were forced or coerced into shoplifting against your will, we could argue that you were a victim rather than a perpetrator.
- Age of Consent: If the accused is a minor, the rules and potential penalties may differ. We can help you navigate the specific circumstances involved in juvenile shoplifting cases.
- Evidentiary Challenges: We can analyze the evidence against you to ensure it was obtained and handled correctly, raising questions about its reliability.
Contact Our Fresno Shoplifting Attorney Today
Facing shoplifting charges in California is a serious matter, but you don't have to go through it alone. Wapner Jones, PC is dedicated to providing you with expert legal representation and working tirelessly to protect your rights and your future. Our experienced team understands the complexities of shoplifting cases and will explore all available defenses to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
We are here to stand by your side, protect your interests, and provide the legal expertise you need to navigate this challenging situation successfully. Your future is our priority, and we are committed to helping you move forward with confidence.
Contact Wapner Jones, PC, today to schedule a consultation with our shoplifting lawyer in Fresno!