Consequences of a Shoplifting Conviction

Shoplifting is the Most Common Property Crime in Los Angeles, CA

It’s true… Theft and shoplifting are the most commonly prosecuted property crimes in Los Angeles, California. Whether you left a store and forgot to pay for something or even if you had a lapse in judgment and took something for the thrill and excitement of “getting away with it,” I can often help you get your charges dismissed or reduced.

You can often get Shoplifting Charges reduced or Dismissed in Los Angeles

Unfortunately, we’ve all done things we later come to regret. In these financially trying times, when money is tight, the needs of our families can sometimes push any of us to do things that we would normally never consider. Or, like many of my clients, maybe you just acted on a crazy impulse. It happens! After the fact, it is easy to recognize that what you did was wrong. But by then the deed is done and the legal problem is not going to go away all by itself. Unfortunately, if you do nothing you will face severe consequences. On the other hand, if you contact an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney on come to your defense, he can share your real story with the store, the police, the prosecutor and the court. If you don’t have an experienced advocate defending you how can you possibly offset the penalties and punishment that the system is preparing to bring down on you.

Immediate and Long Term Consequences of an L.A. Shoplifting Conviction

The Consequences of Shoplifting – of even one dollar can result in:
1 – You going to Jail
2 – A Permanent Criminal Record (bad news)
3 – Get you fired from your current job
4 – Prevent you for obtaining a new job
5 – Increase your home and auto insurance rates
6 – Require you to perform community service
7 – Require a stiff civil penalty to be paid
8 – Require you to attend special classes (at your expense)
9 – Travel Restrictions: Entry to certain foreign countries denied
10 – Deportation – If you are not a citizen
11 – Inadmissible for US visa, permanent resident status in United States.

Is your Shoplifting being Charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

If you did not get into any kind of physical altercation with a store employee or loss-prevention agent you are typically looking at a misdemeanor charge. Similarly, if the value of the merchandise you were accused of stealing was not all that much and there was no reason to charge you with a felony, it is likely that your Shoplifting case will be charged as a misdemeanor and handled in municipal court. If you touched, bumped into, pushed, or knocked down a store employee you can be charged with a felony! Also, if you wore special clothing with hidden pockets or used a “booster box” or something designed to help conceal merchandise, that goes to pre-meditation and planning on your part with elevated your charges to Burglary – often treated as a felony.

Although most shoplifting cases are, for the most part, misdemeanors and not felonies, the truth is that a misdemeanor conviction is still serious and results in a criminal record and will effect your employment prospects, state licensing, foreign travel, student loans, federal loans, insurance costs, immigration and more.

How to Lessen the Consequences of a Shoplifting Charge

If you have been charged with shoplifting and do not want to deal with the negative consequences of a conviction, then you need to hire a criminal law attorney experienced in defending shoplifting charges.

The truth is, shoplifting is one of the more defensible offenses in Los Angeles area courts.  Unfortunately, most people charged with shoplifting too often make the critical mistake of simply pleading guilty when the fact is that there was an extraordinarily good chance that with my affordable help we would have obtained a dismissal and/or downgrade of the charge to something that is less than a misdemeanor and does not saddle you with a “theft” charge that will limit your employment possibilities for the rest of your life. The facts are that I am able to reach this type of outcome in an extremely high percentage of cases thereby allowing my clients to avoid the cost, embarrassment, and other problems associated with a shoplifting / theft conviction.

Just because you are facing shoplifting or theft charges, that doesn’t mean that you deserve to be be punished harshly and treated like a hardened criminal.

Read: “Downgrading or Dismissal of Shoplifting Charges

If you or a loved one was arrested for shoplifting, I am here to help. I am Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney George W. Woodworth and a call to my office is a good first step in getting this behind you.