What You Need to Know about Prop 47 and Shoplifting Crimes
Prop 47 could keep felony charges off the table in your shoplifting case.
It’s been less than a year since the voters of California passed Prop 47, and this new law has already helped thousands of individuals. If you are facing accusations of shoplifting, it could help you too.
What is Prop 47?
Prop 47 is a sentencing relief measure that changed the penalties for some minor drug and theft related crimes. The goal of the measure was to end draconian punishments for non-violent crimes and better help individuals convicted of these crimes to reintegrate into society after serving their punishment.
What Does Prop 47 Say About Shoplifting?
Before the passage of Prop 47, prosecutors could charge individuals accused of stealing from a store with a misdemeanor or a felony at their own discretion. In some cases, this resulted in minor incidents being charged as felony commercial burglary. With felony penalties at stake, defendants sometimes felt pressure to plead guilty in exchange for a lower charge and/or penalty.
Now, it is no longer possible to charge most minor shoplifting incidents as a felony thanks to Prop 47.
Prop 47 actually created a new misdemeanor crime called “shoplifting,” which is defined as follows:
“entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while it is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).”
What If Intent Can’t Be Proven?
If the prosecutor does not have evidence that you intended to steal when you entered the store, you may face a petty theft charge rather than a shoplifting charge. But don’t worry–Prop 47 also requires petty thefts involving less than $950 to be charged as misdemeanors, not felonies.
Exceptions to Prop 47
It is important to note that not everyone qualifies for the reduced penalties created by Prop 47. If you have certain serious or violent felony convictions in your past, or if you are required to register as a sex offender, you could face more significant penalties for stealing from a store.
Hire an Experienced Theft Defense Attorney Now
Obviously, just because Prop 47 has made the penalties for shoplifting less severe does not mean you want to face these penalties! Any conviction that goes on your permanent record can hurt your reputation and compromise your future, so it’s best to hire an experienced theft defense attorney such as El bufete de abogados Mattern to help you fight the charges.
We have handled many different types of theft crimes cases, and we know this complex area of law inside out. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may have a variety of strategies to pursue such as pleading down to an infraction that will not go on your record, petitioning for a dismissal of charges, or fighting for an acquittal in court.
To get a free consultation about your shoplifting case, please contact us at 310-342-8254.