Shoplifting or petty theft is a common crime that occurs when
someone steals merchandise offered for sale from a retail store.
Shoplifting from retail stores results in many arrests each year. The
offense can be either a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the
value of the item taken and whether the person has prior convictions.
To be convicted of shoplifting, one must "intend" to permanently
deprive the merchant of the value of the merchandise. Individuals
accused of shoplifting in Burbank, Glendale or Pasadena are often
confused about the procedures for lawfully detaining someone
suspected of theft from a store. What are the rights of a person
accused? Is what the store security guard did legal? How much force
can be used to detain someone who is believed to have stolen
merchandise? Does the accused need to hire a Criminal Defense
Lawyer? Why am I also being charged with Burglary?
The store security guard must generally see a shoplifter enter the
store or approach a display and see that the customer does not have
any merchandise in their hand or that they haven’t retrieved a item
from their own purse, bag, or pocket. This step prevents a common
mistake that occurs when a customer brings an item back to the
store for a return and does not check in at the return desk first. If
security detains someone after seeing them replace their own
merchandise into their pocket or bag, the store could be subject to a
false theft arrest claim even though it is a seemingly honest mistake.
Many false arrest claims are filed by attorneys because the store
missed this important, but basic, first step.
Secondly, the security employee must see the suspected shoplifter
select the merchandise. Burbank Store employees can misunderstand
when they see a customer innocently put an item into their pocket or
purse and not realize that the customer had brought the item into the
store with them for comparison purposes. If the employee can
positively and honestly state that they saw the shoplifter remove
store merchandise from the display prior to concealing it, then they
may have a strong foundation for proof of shoplifting.
Furthermore, the employee must see the shoplifter conceal, carry
away, or convert the merchandise. This includes concealment in
bags, baby strollers, or on a person. Shoplifting can occur by
wearing articles in plain view once the tags are removed. Shoplifting
can occur by conversion, for example, when consuming food prior
to being purchased. An exception to the observation rule is inside a
fitting room where observation is impossible. Once inside a fitting
room store merchandise can be concealed almost anywhere. The
important factor is to know what items go into the fitting room and
what items don't come out in plain view. The problem is, the fitting
room must be checked beforehand to see if it is clear of merchandise
and after the suspected person exits to see that the missing items
were not simply discarded.
Being arrested or ordered to appear in the Criminal Court on a
shoplifting or petty theft charge is a difficult and humiliating
experience. I sincerely sympathize with you, and you need to know
that there is a good chance that I can help you. I have many years of
experience in these cases and I've been able to help many people get
their charges reduced or dismissed. Even with the most difficult
cases, a good shoplifting defense lawyer will make sure you get the
minimum penalty possible and avoid jail and immigration
Acting on your case quickly is important. You see, we have a lot
more legal options available the earlier we get on a case. Ideally, I
like to meet with my client shortly after they are arrested. We have
defended many of these cases, and frankly, we have seen a lot of
other lawyers make the mistake of not immediately challenging the
facts and circumstances of the case. Don't delay in speaking with a
attorney about your case. Early Intervention can be a big advantage.
You may be asking yourself why you need a defense lawyer for a
"minor" shoplifting offense. It's simple, really: a good defense lawyer
who knows the shoplifting laws in Burbank and Glendale backwards
and forwards is critical to protect your legal rights, and your best
chance to beat the charges or walk away with a minimal penalty.
Whether you've already been arrested, or you have received a notice
to appear in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, I can help you
work through your case to get the best possible outcome.
This is important because a shoplifting or petty theft charge can have
serious legal consequences if not dealt with properly, and any
criminal conviction on your record can be damaging to your future.
Our office has successfully defended many individuals wrongfully
arrested for petty theft. Our Lawyer can help you to avoid serving
time in the Burbank Jail and assist in clearing your record.
Call us today for a free consultation, Toll Free at 1-877-617-4485