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Can Shoplifting from a Carlsbad store be a felony?

Shoplifting in Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos, Escondido, Encinitas or anywhere in California can be a felony.  It depends on several things, prior record, dollar value stolen, and whether there are any additional crimes committed at the time.  Any prior felony theft charge can make a petty theft a felony.  Also, if there are three prior petty thefts then the fourth can be a felony.  If the value of the property shoplifted is $950 or more it is a felony grand theft shoplifting.  If a person entered the store with the intent to steal, pass bad checks, or fraudently use a credit card, then there will be felony charges in addition to the petty theft.

A misdemeanor petty theft shoplifting charge carries up to 6 months custody and $1000 fine (with assessments can be significantly more).  Usually a first offense, if convicted, involves a book and release at the county jail so that it counts a a prior for purposes of charging a felony in the future.  There may be public work, fines and stay away orders from the store as part of a grant of three years of probation.  Even though a second petty theft may not be a felony, Courts usually greatly increase the penalties from a first offense. 

Plea bargaining in these cases can help to minimize consequences now and in the future, it may even be possible to get an infraction instead of a misdemeanor, or possibly get the charges dismissed.  Clearly individual case facts, backgrounds, and possible defenses play a large role in the negotiation process.  Nicholas and William Christoph have over 40 years of combined Criminal Defnse experience and have been across from the Vista Courts for over 32 years.  Contact Christoph Law Offices at 760-941-5720 for a free consultation.

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