Shoplifting & Petty Theft

Petty Theft in Riverside County

Theft is the unlawful taking of someone else's property.  Under Penal Code §§ 484 and 488, petty theft occurs when the property taken is valued at less than $950.  The majority of petty theft cases arise when someone simply physically takes property that belongs to someone else.  This is known as "theft by larceny."  However, there other types of theft can give rise to a petty theft charge, including:  (1) theft by trick; (2) theft by embezzlement; and (3) theft by fraud or false pretense.  

Shoplifting in Riverside County

Penal Code § 459.5 codifies the charge of shoplifting.  Shoplifting occurs when an individual:  (1) enters a commercial establishment while it is open for business; (2) with the intent to steal items therein; and (3) the items are worth $50 are less.  If an individual lacks the intent to steal items before entering a business, they cannot be guilty of shoplifting.  As a result, the best defense to a shoplifting charge is typically a lack of intent. 

First Offender Diversion Program for Petty Theft Offenders

If an individual has no prior theft or "theft-related" convictions, and the value of the allegedly stolen property is less than $50, then a Riverside County criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charge to a less-serious infraction and allow you to participate in a diversion program. 

If your case is reduced, you face a maximum $250 fine, and may be required to:  (1) repay the value of the merchandise which you allegedly stole; (2) complete an agreed-upon number of community service hours; and/or (3) attend anti-theft classes.  Upon completion of the diversion program, your charge will be dismissed.  

If it is your first theft or "theft-related" offense, but the item(s) exceeded $50 in value, you still may be able to participate in a petty theft diversion program.

There are a variety of defenses that a Riverside County criminal defense attorney can assert on your behalf.  If you or a loved one are facing a petty theft or shoplifting charge in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Banning, Indio, Perris, Moreno Valley, Corona or Riverside, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Call me or use the contact form below for a free case evaluation.