Petty theft and Shoplifting in Orange County can be handled by our firm because we know the courts and will get you a result that will get this embarrassing event behind you without putting you away for the rest of your life.
I was cited for Shoplifting in Orange County
Petty theft or shoplifting is a charge I see frequently in my work. Since we are so inundated with commercial advertising, the retail business is a lucrative industry especially here in Orange County where we have some world renowned malls and shopping centers offering anything from high end fashion to everyday household items like Target and Walmart and everything in between. Carrying out items from a retail business with the specific intent to deprive the store of their merchandise is shoplifting. The law in CA sets the threshold for petty theft at property valued at $950. The law allows retailers and prosecutors to use the retail price of items, even if the cost of those goods were a fraction of retail.
How is Shoplifting handled in Orange County
Now you know the law as it stands on the books, but what about specifically dealing with shoplifting in Orange County. Is there a difference here behind the "Orange Curtain?" Yes there's a difference. In previous years, a shoplifting case or petty theft in Orange County meant you would be facing jail or community service in the form of Caltrans and get stuck with a conviction for a misdemeanor that is considered a "crime of moral turpitude" in future background checks and employment applications, and immigration law. In the current legal culture, jail overcrowding and court dockets are filled to capacity and the State has been forced to relax the punishment for shoplifting in Orange County which is a benefit for my clients. Since the jails are full of inmates with more serious charges, a person accused of petty theft won't even be taken to the County jail. Believe it or not, the jail won't take them. That means that the accused is left with a citation and promise to appear in court at a later date. This version of detention and citation is based on an individual receiving a release on their own recognizance. Also called an "OR" release. An arrest isn't recorded, no fingerprinting or booking process, and no overnight visit to the jail or bail bond required.
Why should I hire a Lawyer? How Does a Lawyer Help?
This is where its important to exercise your right to have an attorney represent you. Especially me, an experienced local Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer who has handled hundreds of cases involving shoplifting in Orange County. When you are charged and standing in front of the Judge and the District Attorney attempting to represent yourself or give an explanation or the many ways that you can incriminate yourself, you've already made an important step in the wrong direction. Remember, the courts are full and have many people to speak to everyday and need quick, direct, meaningful responses. It doesn't mean the judge has a hair trigger and can't wait to find you guilty, but s/he does have an incentive to finish your case that day because then they don't have to see it again. The problem with a quick resolution at that point is that you haven't seen a police report, haven't seen the complaint to know what they are charging you with, haven't had a lawyer explain all your rights to you, and most importantly, had a chance to hear and consider all the consequences of pleading guilty. Also beware that prosecutors routinely file burglary charges when charging a person with theft. The circumstances that lead this to happen involve the question, when did the form the intent to commit theft? If the person went to the location with the intent to steal, then there's a burglary. If the person entered, and then later decided to steal, there's no burglary. This is one of the facts that the police will try to obtain in the initial contact with the suspect. Which is why it's important not to answer police questions without first asking for an attorney to assist you. Don't try to face this alone. Contact our office so Mr. Grupenhagen can discuss the process, the potential consequences, and how to avoid jail and potential loss of employment for your case for shoplifting in Orange County.
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