Whether its one or two items could show that it was on purpose and not by accident. But it really comes down to the facts of the case. These are rhetorical questions that I do not want you to answer. Depends on whether you took items out of packaging, took off price tags, hid the items somehow in your clothing or in bag/purse you were carrying, the condition of the items (were they damaged by you in some way), how you tried to avoid cash registers, did you pay for any other items, whether they have surveilance video of you, admission by you, witness to your conduct, etc..
Since this is a first time offense the best resolutions other than taking to trial and getting not guilty verdict would be dismissal, deferred entry of judgment (diversion), or reduction to an infraction.
To accurately analyze your case you need to speak to an attorney before court or ask to be appointed a public defender at your first appearance in Court.
Postings provided on this forum are informal and do not establish an attorney client relationship. To discuss your matter further please call my office at (760) 340-1800 in Palm Desert or (909) 469-5127 in Pomona. In most instances I offer free consultations.
You should provide us with more details. It may be one count or it may be two counts. If it came from the same incident at the same store, then it will likely be one count. In Los Angeles County, under $50 will usually be an infraction, although higher amounts can be infracted if your attorney prepares the case correctly.
Seth Weinstein, Esq.
This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply.
The number of items is not legally relevant. What is relevant is the value and the intent of the taker. If you took items valued at 150 dollars you committed a petty theft, which can be charged as a misdemeanor or infraction st the discretion of the prosecutor. If the prosecutor can show you entered a building intending to steal they can also charge commercial burglary which us s felony.
If both items were taken in the same incident, it will probably be one charge. However, if you took one, left the store and came back to take the other it would be two. Whether or not it could be reduced to an infraction depends on the attorney and the specific facts of the case.
When you say, "first time, in CA," are you saying you have priors in another state(s) or is this the first misdemeanor in your life? Whether or not you have priors (in or out of California) will likely impact how the case is ultimately charged, and whether you receive a "good" offer from the DA or city attorney.
Speak with a criminal defense attorney that offers a free consultation. Good luck!
Mark A. Seif, Esq.