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.
Shoplifting is defined by the nature of the stolen property, if it is retail merchandise from a store then it is shoplifting. It is still a theft charge which can affect your future, your job, your professional license, your immigration status, your employment, and many other aspects of your life. It can follow you through job applications, college admissions, security clearances and military service applications. It is not just a minor offense, it is a crime of moral turpitude so it is important that your case is resolved in the best way possible to minimize the effect on your future.
There are also things that can be done to help clean up a theft record like expungement which may keep the theft from being considered for hiring for most jobs. Contact Christoph Law Offices at 760-670-3885 for a free consultation. We have been across from Vista Courts for over 32 years, have handled hundreds of theft and shoplifting cases. Providing the highest level of personal and professional representation, we can help you achieve the best result in your case.