What Are Shoplifting Charges? How It Can Effect In someone’s Life?
Category: Stories

Shoplifting charges can create adverse outcomes for suspects, especially if found guilty. This stems from your criminal record, adding to the incarceration and fines. Thus, you want to fight the charges by working with a criminal defense attorney for the best chances of a successful outcome. With your lawyer’s help, you can also pre-empt the prosecutor’s accusations and cast doubts on their evidence. At California Criminal Lawyer Group, you will receive the best criminal defense services to fight shoplifting charges. Defendants facing shoplifting charges in Anaheim, California, can contact us for professional legal services.


The Nature of Shoplifting Charges


Section 459.5 of the California Penal Code prohibits shoplifting and classifies it as a misdemeanor offense. Hence, anyone facing the charges is answerable before a criminal court. Shoplifting is classified under theft crimes as it involves unlawfully taking goods from a commercial establishment. Subsequently, the theft attracts repercussions under the Penal Code provisions. Once you face arrest and receive charges for your alleged crime, the trial process begins. During this period, the prosecutor handles your case by preparing an argument against you. Subsequently, their goal is to ensure they prove all elements of the charged crime beyond reasonable doubt for the judge to convict you. While the requirement sounds straightforward, the standard of proof holds the prosecutor to a strict expectation. Often, the judge will not convict you unless sufficient information is presented to satisfy each crime element. Further, the sources of proof must indicate your direct involvement in shoplifting before you can face any penalties. Based on these guidelines and your charges, the prosecution and the defense attorneys should prepare adequately beforehand. In doing so, they will have complied with all criminal procedure requirements and the court processes necessary for a proper trial run domestic violence offenses.


Elements of Crime that the Prosecutor Must Prove


criminal lawyer group As mentioned above, the prosecutor must prove various elements of the crime for the judge to find you guilty of shoplifting. As a result, the prosecution team must satisfy the standard of proof set for all criminal charges and show your guilty involvement beyond a reasonable doubt. Typically, the prosecutor will handle each element individually to ensure they satisfy the legal standard. Thus, you can expect lengthy hearing proceedings that include various sources of evidence. Among the most common sources are witness testimonies given orally in court. Your defense attorney can then cross-examine the witness, followed by a re-examination by the prosecutor. Since the proceedings may be lengthy, the court may adjourn and hear your matter over a long duration.


You Entered a Commercial Establishment


Firstly, the prosecutor needs to prove that you entered a commercial establishment where the crime occurred. Entering means, you physically gained access into the establishment and proceeded to commit the offense.

However, case laws show that you do not necessarily have to enter the establishment with your entire body, provided the entered part aided in the offense. For example, putting your hand through a window to shoplift may yield the same outcome as someone entering a store and stealing items. Although the circumstances may vary, your body will have entered the establishment for purposes of building a case against you. A commercial establishment is any structure or building where goods and services are traded for monetary gains. Hence, the establishment can range from a convenience store to a small kiosk. Moreover, any place offering services like restaurants, coffee shops, and hair studios, among others, also qualify to be a commercial establishment.

When presenting evidence, the prosecutor must first prove that the location falls within the correct category. This helps to rule out any possibility of unfair accusations. For example, stealing an item from someone selling homemade products from their house does not amount to shoplifting. Nonetheless, you will still face separate charges related to theft. Similarly, the prosecutor should provide proof of you entering the commercial establishment. They may rely on witness testimonies to support their argument, especially if the place is crowded. Further, surveillance footage or photographs may be useful sources of proof to help the prosecutor’s case. Therefore, you want to be ready for the evidential sources and find ways to cast doubts on the given information.


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