We are in the full swing of the holiday season. It always seems as if there is a rise in petty theft and shoplifting crimes during this time of year. Sometimes people are arrested on a case of mistaken identity, while others intentionally and knowingly take from others. If you have been accused of shoplifting, reach out to a skilled San Diego criminal defense attorney today.
What is Petty Theft and Shoplifting?
Petty theft and shoplifting is basically the act of taking something that does not belong to you, without paying for it or having the authority to take it.
Petty theft is known as larceny where someone takes possession of another’s items or goods without their permission and with the intent to deprive the person of the items or goods.
Petty theft and shoplifting was considered the same thing until November 2014 when shoplifting became a separate crime.
California Penal Code 459.5 goes into detail about shoplifting. Shoplifting is similar to petty theft, but with the following key differences:
- Shoplifting refers to performing the act of stealing from a business or establishment during normal business hours, with the intention of stealing
- Petty theft refers to stealing goods or even money, whether from a store or an individual, without permission
Businesses and establishments include movie theaters, hotels, stores, restaurants, gyms, libraries, medical facilities, and even schools.
Why do People Shoplift and Commit Petty Theft?
Shoplifting happens for various reasons. Some reasons are financial, such as lack of money and the inability to afford gifts during the holiday season. Sometimes people lose their jobs during the holidays and they still need to make ends meet.
What are Some Examples of Shoplifting and Petty Theft?
Shoplifting and petty theft are similar; we would like to show you what shoplifting and petty theft looks like. If you are doing the following, you are participating in shoplifting and petty theft:
- Changing price tags on items in stores
- Pick pocketing
- Taking someone’s purse
Common Defenses to Petty Theft and Shoplifting
Petty theft and shoplifting charges are serious in the State of California. But there are several defenses that may apply. The most common defenses include:
- Lack of intent
- False accusation
- Mistaken identity
- Not enough evidence
- Believing that the property belonged to the person being accused
The penalties for both petty theft and shoplifting may include no more than six months in jail and a fine of $1,000 maximum. With a qualified criminal defense lawyer, the accused may be able to get charges reduced or completely dismissed because of the negotiations that can take place. Continue reading