shoplifting hypothetical

Law Offices of George Kita

Call 213-400-5355!

I emphasize effective representation of shoplifting cases in my law practice. The significance of shoplifting and theft cases can last a lifetime if a conviction is the end result. This type of conviction, even if expunged, may result in denial of employment, deportation, or loss of a professional license, such as a real estate license.

I wanted to review a hypothetical shoplifting case in San Fernando Court jurisdiction, as well as some examples of what I might do as a San Fernando Shoplifting Attorney.

San Fernando Shoplifting Case Example

A common shoplifting case originating in the San Fernando Court jurisdiction oftentimes starts at the local mall or local shop in the north or west region of the San Fernando Valley. While shoplifting, also referred to as petty theft, commonly involves amounts of $950 or less, the vast numbers of cases I see usually involve accusations of under $150. So, for purposes of our scenario we will say that the incident was at the Northridge Fashion Center, where a person was accused of taking $100 worth of clothing.

The person is 35 years old, with no previous record. She is employed, may be applying for a new job in the near future, has a family, and lives locally in the San Fernando Valley. Because of the sensitive nature of the incident, the person wants to minimize embarrassment, avoid court appearances, if possible, and seeks possible alternatives for a theft conviction. There are many issues which should be promptly addressed.

The first issue is early intervention. San Fernando Court jurisdiction misdemeanors, which generally include the shoplifting and petty theft cases, are prosecuted by the City Attorney's Office. This agency utilizes various alternatives to criminal filings, on a case by case basis. While the criteria for these alternatives tend to be dependent on a low amount in theft cases (under $50), I have seen this range lifted above the $100 threshold in the past few years, in certain cases.

Because the accused person in our case has no record, the theft amount is not an extremely high dollar amount, she is employed, and she has strong community attachments in the San Fernando Valley, the City Attorney may be willing to consider this case for a program known as "Diversion," processed through the American Justices Associates Program. If accepted in this program, she would have the opportunity to earn a dismissal of the charge upon completion of community service and a classroom component. This would be a huge break, and allow her to apply for the new job without having to report a theft conviction on her record.

As her attorney, I would quickly contact the City Attorney's Office, and provide positive character letters and related information, and request this option. (If the case is filed in court, this option is not available.) Depending on the circumstances, I might also enroll the person in a private counseling program, to address issues related to the incident (this should be carefully evaluated by your attorney, prior to enrolling in any program).

If the City Attorney is amenable to Diversion, I quickly arrange enrollment and scheduling for completion, so the person obtains the benefit of an out of court solution. In the event the person did not complete the requirements, the City Attorney will file criminal charges in court.

If the case is filed in court, I want to explore defenses to the case, alternatives to theft charges, Deferred Entry of Judgment, and Civil Compromise, to name a few possible solutions. I might request a meeting with the prosecutor and judge, to explore a vast range of ideas, to minimize the long-term consequences of the incident.

In misdemeanor San Fernando theft cases, I can appear for a client if a case is filed in court, without the person having to personally be at court. So, in our scenario, the person can likely avoid an in person court appearance in front of the judge. I can also communicate directly with the person, by phone, email or other method of communication, to avoid this person further embarrassment, as well as disclosure to her family or friends.

Creative solutions should be thoroughly explored by your San Fernando Valley Theft Defense Attorney.