Now that the holiday season is here, millions of people throughout California and the United States will go to malls and stores, or perhaps do some online shopping, to purchase gifts for their loved ones. Unfortunately, the costly expectations during this time of year pressures many individuals to take drastic measures in order to bring joy and cheer to those they care most.
Shoplifting is one of the most common types of crimes which occur during the holidays. Black Friday experiences shoplifting at a higher rate compared to around Christmas time.
According to California law, shoplifting is considered a serious theft crime. The severity of the penalties for shoplifting depends on the value of the stolen merchandise.
If the shoplifting crime involves property valued at less than $50, it is considered petty theft that is punishable by a maximum fine of $250—as long as the suspect doesn’t have any prior related convictions. If the value of the property involved int eh crime was worth $50 or less than $950, it is a misdemeanor which carries a maximum six-month jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000. If the value of the property is $950 or more, it could be charged as a felony offense, which can result in a prison sentence of up to three years.
Furthermore, you may also face civil penalties if the owner of the merchandise suffered damages costing between $50 and $500, and the retail value of the merchandise if it is damaged.
If you have been charged with shoplifting in Santa Barbara, our experienced legal team at Appel & Morse can help you either get your charges dismissed or avoid serving time behind bars during the holidays. For more information, contact us and schedule a free criminal consultation today.