According to California Penal Code Section 459.5, shoplifting is entering a commercial establishment during regular working hours, with the intent to commit larceny, where the value won’t exceed $950.
What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove to Be Convicted of Penal Code 459.5 PC?
To be convicted of 459.5 PC shoplifting, the prosecutor must establish that the defendant:
- entered into a commercial establishment;
- while the establishment was open during normal business hours; and
- entered with the intent to steal property worth $950 or less
Penalties for a Misdemeanor Penal Code 459.5 PC Shoplifting Conviction
Penalties for a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction include:
- Up to six months in county jail; and/or
- Fines not exceeding $1,000.
The defendant may also serve probation time of up to 3 years while participating in community service.
Penalties for a Felony Penal Code 459.5 PC Shoplifting Conviction
Penalties for a felony shoplifting conviction include:
- Up to six months in county jail;
- Fines not exceeding $10,000; and/or
- participate in a felony probation program
Legal Defenses for Shoplifting
Penal Code section specifically requires, “entering a commercial establishment during regular business hours, with the intent to commit larceny.” The “intent” is a critical aspect of this charge.
This means that the defendant must have intended to take the property. As such, if the defendant mistakenly walked out with the property, the “intent” element is not satisfied.
The Defendant was Wrongly Accused of the Crime
The prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant was present at the time the merchandise was stolen and was the cause of the incident. Usually, this information is provided by merchants and eyewitnesses and that were present at that time.
A Case of a Civil Compromise
Under California law, if the shoplifter agreed to repay the owner of the business for all losses or damages a civil compromise can be redefined.
A Police Misconduct
The defendant may be prone to some forms of police misconduct including:
- Fabrication of evidence to incriminate you
- Violation of the Fourth Amendment rule which protects a person’s rights against unreasonable searches
- Coercing a person’s confession.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with Penal Code Section 459.5 Shoplifting, we invite you to contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at (310) 943-1171 for a free consultation.