Contact us for a Free Criminal Case Review at (888) 579-4844

Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP - LA's Most Experienced Criminal Defense Team

Shoplifting | PC 459.5

Los Angeles Shoplifting Defense Lawyers | LA Theft Attorneys

In our firm’s almost 3 decades of theft defense experience, we’ve represented many seemingly normal and well-adjusted people in shoplifting cases. What we learned from each of these cases was that the majority of our clients were 1st offenders and when asked, each could not explain why they did what they did. In many cases, they were either unable to recall what exactly they shoplifted or they stole items they did not actually need nor would have any use for. Some examples from actual cases we have handled involved clients stealing multiple copies of the same DVD, clothing in sizes that would not fit them, and cologne/perfume “tester” bottles that were nearly empty. While the items taken and the circumstances under which the individuals were apprehended varied from case to case, the common denominator in the majority of the shoplifting cases we’ve defended has been the existence of a significant stressor or stressors in that client’s life.

These stressors come in different shapes and sizes. Some of the cases involved significant life altering events, such as the death of a loved one, dissolution of a marriage or long term relationship, being a victim of a physically or verbally abusive relationship, or loss of employment. Whereas, some cases involved relatively minor stressors such as the retailer refusing to honor a merchandise exchange or return, being ignored by a sales associate, or a fussy child. It is important to note that whether a person was suffering from a major or minor stressor, it does not excuse his/her decision to commit an act he or she knows to be illegal. However, it is equally important for your criminal defense attorney to provide an explanation to the prosecutor for why his/her client committed such an uncharacteristic act. This is key towards convincing prosecutors to reduce a theft crime down to a lesser non-theft related charge such as PC 415 – “Disturbing the Peace” or PC 602 “Trespass.”

The Role of Counselors and Therapists

Simply telling prosecutors about your personal struggles may not be enough to convince them to reduce charges. Therefore, we advise most of our clients to seek therapy with a counselor or therapist. This provides us with an opportunity to present a report to prosecutors from your therapist, improving our chances of convincing them to reduce charges and/or keeping you out of jail. Another benefit of seeking counseling after a shoplifting arrest, in addition to helping the defense of your case, is that it can also help you deal with the embarrassment and shame most 1st offense shoplifters experience following their arrest and release.

What Are The Chances Of Getting My Shoplifting Charge Reduced or Dismissed?

The court venue where your case would be prosecuted plays a significant role in determining what your chances are of a plea to a reduced charge or dismissal through diversion. For example, a person with a 1st offense petty theft at the Harbor Court in Newport Beach would have a better chance at a dismissal through diversion than if his/her case – with the same case facts – was out of the Pomona Court. Courts with multiple prosecutorial agencies such as Airport Court and Torrance Court add another potential obstacle in your case, for some agencies are more conservative in their practices than others. Although the court venue influences your chances of receiving a lesser charge or dismissal, it is not the only factor to be considered. Your prior criminal record, circumstances of your arrest (amount of the theft), and quality of your legal representation can also play an important role in whether or not you receive a favorable resolution of your case.

Call Us At (888) 579-4844 For A Free Consultation

If you have been arrested or cited for shoplifting, please contact by phone or online for a confidential case review. We will not place any pressure on you to retain us nor will we engage in “scare tactics”. Every detail of your case will be reviewed and every possible scenario will be discussed so that you are educated and prepared for what lies ahead. Our main office is located in West Los Angeles, however, we maintain satellite locations in Torrance, Long Beach, Woodland Hills, Pasadena, Glendale, West Covina, Westlake Village, Oxnard, Encino, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Orange.