Most shoplifting charges in North County at the Vista Courts come from petty thefts from the two largest malls, Carlsbad Westfield Mall and Escondido North County Fair. Shoplifting is the stealing of property $950 or less from a commercial outlet. There are other stores like Walmart, Costco and Target which also have a lot of cases. Usually store security does the initial stop after exiting the store and escorts the suspected individual to the office, takes a statement, tells them not to return and local police for the arrest/citation.
If it appears that you entered the store to steal, even if it is $950 or less in value, you may be booked on a felony commercial burglary in addition to the theft. The burglary is the entry with intent to steal reagrdless of value, the actual shoplifting or theft depends on the value, over $950 is felony grand theft. The District Attorney has the option to file both charges as misdemeanors, but the officer does not have that same option in arresting the suspect. Many times if it is a first offense, the D.A. will file the burglary as a misdemeanor unless it appears to be sophisticated or there are more than one incident.
An attorney can make all the appearances in Court on a misdemeanor for the Defendant. In addition to possible defenses, there are also other factors which may help the Criminal Defense Attorney get lesser charges or penalties even if there is no defense. Christoph Law Offices have been directly across the street from the Vista Courthouse for over 30 years and have handled hundreds of theft cases. Contact us for a free consultation and let us help you get the best result in your case.