Theft and Shoplifting are the most commonly prosecuted Theft Crimes in California

Whether you left a store and forgot to pay for something or even if a lapse in judgment found you with stolen property, we can help. what are some of the shoplifting penalties.

Shoplifting Penalties: sometimes in life we do things we later regret. When money is tight and you and your family have needs, it can push you to do things you normally wouldn’t even consider. Or maybe you just acted on a crazy impulse at a difficult, emotional moment. After the fact it is easy to recognize what happened was wrong. Unfortunately, without an experienced California criminal defense attorney on your side, the court doesn’t often get to hear your side of the story.

Just because you are facing a theft or shoplifting charge, that doesn’t mean you deserve to be punished harshly and treated like a criminal. Because of our extensive criminal defense experience, we have handled many theft cases and probably some very similar to yours. However, we are interested in you and in your case. We will give your case the attention it deserves,and do our best to successfully defend you against the theft, shoplifting, or related charges you are facing.

Sentence Reductions for Theft Under Proposition 47 in California

In 2014, the Proposition 47 ballot initiative effectively reduced many theft offenses from felony to misdemeanor offenses.

If the amount taken or value of property in question is under $950, it is a misdemeanor offense. These types of theft charges include:

        • Petty theft
        • Shoplifting
        • Bad Checks, fraud, forgery
        • Receiving stolen property

As long as the value is under $950, you won’t be charged with a felony theft offense, under the revised statutes of the California Penal Codes, Sections 459, 470-476, 484, and 487.

If you were previously sentenced to a felony theft or theft-related offense that is now classified as a misdemeanor, you may be eligible for a sentence reduction and expungement under the provisions of prop 47.


Petty theft involves the taking of property whose value is less than $400. If you are charged and convicted of misdemeanor petty theft, you may be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail and fines ranging from $50- $1,000.

If the value of the property taken is less than $50, you may be charged with a simple infraction. An infraction is less in severity than a misdemeanor and the penalty for infraction petty theft is a fine less than $250.

The option to prosecute your petty theft charge as an infraction is one that rests with the prosecution. Typically, it depends on whether or not you have any prior theft convictions.


Grand theft applies to acts of theft where the value of the property is more than $950. Grand theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision is made by the prosecution and is determined by any past convictions on your record. Want more information on shoplifting penalties, call Wais Azami.

Grand theft is punishable by fines and up to one year in jail or state prison.

If, however, the theft involves a firearm, the punishment is increased to 16 months- 3 years in a California state prison. Want more information on shoplifting penalties, call Wais Azami.


If you take or are found driving the vehicle of another person without their permission, you may be charged with grand theft auto. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

As a first-time offender, you may face up to one year in jail or state prison and fines up to $5,000. If this isn’t your first conviction, the prosecutor will be more likely to charge with a felony.


If you are found in possession of stolen property you may be charged with the offense of theft by receiving (also known as receiving stolen property). The classification of this charge is a misdemeanor if the value is under $950 or may be a felony is greater. Under California law, receiving stolen property, or theft by receiving carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail or prison and fines.


In a section that is often referred to as “felony petty theft “, California penal code section 666 states that if you are convicted of theft for a third time you can face felony charges. Even if both priors were petty theft and the third is also, you may be facing felony charges and one year in state prison.

This section of California Criminal Law has received much publicity for sending people to prison for minor offenses. Despite its harsh consequences, it is in the law and the courts do practice it.


There are aggravating circumstances that can make these charges more serious. Theft from the elderly is a more serious offense and can result in enhanced penalties at sentencing. Stealing from an elderly, infirmed, or incapacitated person is considered a more serious crime.

accused of shoplifting/theft in California? free legal case evaluation from an experienced ca theft defense attorney

Though theft and shoplifting offenses are common in California, they are not to be taken lightly. Because you may be facing prison time and hefty fines, it is vital that you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. And any criminal charge can result in a permanent criminal record that can follow you for the rest of you life. Want more information on shoplifting penalties, call Wais Azami.

All forms of theft are considered crimes of moral turpitude for immigration purposes.  Such convictions could lead to deportation, removal, prevention of status changes and prevention of entry.

Make sure your rights are defended, and you aren’t punished unfairly, or more severely than you deserve. You are innocent until proven guilty and deserve fair treatment under the law. Call our attorneys for a free consultation on your California theft charges today.


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