I have discussed possible solutions in Los Angeles County theft cases throughout my website. As you might expect, San Fernando Valley Theft cases are handled a bit differently.
I will open with the caveat that it is always unwise to represent yourself in any San Fernando Valley Theft case for two significant reasons: you need an objective perspective to provide you your best options; and, there is too much at stake with a theft charge, including negative employment, licensing, as well as immigration consequences. If you simply walk into court and plead guilty, it is very difficult to undo the damage which may follow. You will need legal representation. Period.
So let's talk about theft cases in the San Fernando Valley.
How are San Fernando Valley Theft cases assigned?
Depending on the location of the theft incident, your case will either be assigned to San Fernando Criminal Court or Van Nuys Criminal Court.
San Fernando Court
North and East San Fernando Valley theft cases are set in the San Fernando Courthouse. Commonly, we see these theft cases occurring at the Northridge Mall (Northridge Fashion Center), in stores such as Macy's, JC Penny, and Sears, to name a few. LAPD generally assigns officers to the Northridge Mall, and respond to store merchants reporting shoplifting cases. The store employee (or security officer) commonly makes a citizen's arrest, and then present the arrested person to LAPD for citation, or a formal "booking" at LAPD Devonshire Division. Lower value theft arrests will be cited out to court, rather than booked, at the discretion of LAPD.
Most theft cases in the SFV are misdemeanor arrests. Importantly, some felony arrests from this jurisdiction begin as felonies, but may resolve at misdemeanor level at resolution. This may depend on efforts by your San Fernando Valley Theft Defense Attorney.
Felony cases from the North and East sections of the San Fernando Valley are presented, first, to the LA District Attorney for review. Most non-violent felony theft cases are declined for felony charges, and forwarded to the City Attorney's Office for misdemeanor consideration. Felony and misdemeanor theft cases are all handled in the San Fernando Court.
In some cases, I have found that misdemeanor charges are filed within a few days of a theft arrest. Thus, in this jurisdiction, time may be of the essence for your attorney to communicate with the filing prosecutor to request consideration of suitable court alternatives. Cases in this jurisdiction may be considered and referred to the APPS Program, as well as to the City Attorney Office Hearing Program. Either of these options, successfully completed, would result in dismissal of the charges.
Every possible solution should be explored, including dismissal, Civil Compromise, DEJ (Deferred entry of Judgment), reduced charges, as well as trial.
Van Nuys Court
Theft arrests which occur in the South or East San Fernando Valley, and reported to LAPD (Van Nuys or North Hollywood Division), will either be processed by citation, or formally booked, on shoplifting cases, as in other SFV cases. Common theft cases at this court originate at commercial locations, including, the Westfield Fashion Square Mall in Sherman Oaks.
Felony cases in this jurisdiction are first reviewed by the DA in Van Nuys; misdemeanor referrals are reviewed by the LA City Attorney in Van Nuys. These felony and misdemeanor theft cases are all set in the Van Nuys Court. Common theft cases at this court originate at the Westfield Fashion Square Mall in Sherman Oaks, including from Bloomingdale's, Macy's, and Gap. Again, early intervention options noted above may be significant in resolving a theft case in this jurisdiction.
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