Petty theft is the theft of goods, services, merchandise or personal property valued at $950 or less and shoplifting generally refers to merchandise taken from a merchant's premises. Shoplifting can also be grand theft if the value exceeds $950 in merchandise.
A petty theft in Oceanside is prosecuted in Vista Courts, as are petty theft cases in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, San Marcos and Fallbrook. Most petty thefts occur in retail outlets and are also called shoplifting. Thefts of merchandise $950 or less in value are misdemeanors and carry fines and possible custody. Usually the individual is stopped by store security, interviewed by store security and held for the local police or sheriff to take over the investigation.
Carlsbad Police investigate theft cases in Carlsbad, however, California Highway Patrol may be involved in auto theft cases. The most common theft reported is the petty theft or shoplift. This offense usually involves the theft of retail merchandise valued $950 or less. There are also more serious thefts which are usually felonies involving commercial burglary, embezzlement, fraud, identity theft and also residential burglary which is always a felony and a strike under the three strikes law.
Shoplifting is also "petty theft" if the amount or value stolen does not exceed $950. Thefts over that amount then become "Grand Theft". These thefts can take the form of simply taking merchandise, exchanging merchandise that was stolen, credit card fraud, embezzlement (theft by employee), or other type theft. The most common "shoplift" is the taking an item and walking out of the store with it, usually concealing it in a bag or clothing. Often times people use changing rooms to steal items by wearing them out of the stoire without paying for them, or bagging them after removing elctronic tags.
"Shoplifting" merchandise valued at $950 or less from a commercial outlet carries the same penalties and can also be charged as a "petty theft". But a shoplifting over $950 in value is grand theft which is a felony and therefore not the same. There may be other charges in a theft case like "burglary" which is the entry into a building with the intent to commit theft or other felony. Commercial burgalries may also be misdemeanors if the value of items take is $950 or less. Burglary of a residence is a felony and a strike under the 3 strikes law.
Petty theft cases are misdemeanors which are defined as thefts of $950 or less in value. These charges can carry possible serious consequences not only in penalties but also impact employment, careers, professional licensing, security clearances, education, immigration and other important aspects of an individual's life. Most petty thefts are shoplifting cases and involve the stealing of merchandise from a store. The penalties can include possible custody or alternatives up to 6 months and fines up to $1000 depending on the facts of the case, individuals background, prior record, sophistication and other considerations.
A petty theft is any theft of $950 or less, it is often a shoplifting where merchandise of $950 or lesss is taken from a retail outlet. Once you are cited by the officer for the misdemeanor California Penal Code (PC) 484, you are given an arraignment date. The police reports and security reports, usually including video if avaialble, is forwarded to the District Attorney's (DA) Office for review and actual filing of the criminal complaint. The purpose of this first date is to inform you formally what your actual charges are. Many times they are the same charge or charges you were cited with on scene, but the DA could add, change or reject the charges depending on the evidence. Charges are ususally filed by the Court date but must be filed within 1 year on a misdemeanor.
Petty theft and shoplifting charges are one of the main areas addressed by Prop 47, now known as California Penal Code 1170.18. However, it will not change much for the vast majority of people arrested for a first offense petty theft. Prop 47 prevents the filing of felonies for individuals with theft priors. Before this law change, individuals with certain theft related priors or 3 or more petty thefts, could have been and usually were charged with a felony "petty with a prior" which was punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
Shoplifting and petty theft can be the same. If the value of the stolen items is $950 or less and the items were taken were retail merchandise, then it may be treated the same. If the value is greater, than $950 it becomes a grand theft. If the value is less than $50, the prosecutor could even charge an infraction petty theft instead of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor petty theft or shoplifting are punishable by up to 6 months jail and $1000 fine. Depending on the facts of the case, prior record and other factors, it may be possible to get a lesser charge or avoid custody. Infractions are minor offenses and punishable by a fine only.
It is not shoplifting or petty theft if you forgot to pay for an item at the store and walked out with it. It could become a theft at the point you realize you took the item without paying for it and decide not to return the item or pay for it. Theft requires a specific intent where you knowingly take an item intending to permanently deprive the owner when you took it or decided to keep it. Everyone can make a mistake, or forget something is in there cart, especially as you get older. Intent is not something you can see and say that person had that specific intent, however, it is the circumstances surrounding the taking which may indicate that intent.