Man stealing tool in tool shop

Shoplifting Penalties

Shoplifting is a serious crime that involves a wide variety of penalties.

It is an offense that involves taking something that does not belong to that individual. That something can be clothing, electronics, medicines and more. A person can be charged with shoplifting whether that person is the individual who takes the goods or the individual who acts as an accessory by causing some type of diversion. Shoplifting penalties can very according to the locality of the crime and the number of the time the person has been convicted of the crime. The following is some information about the entire process.

The Booking Process

When an individual first receives a charge for shoplifting, the police take that person in for booking. They take impressions of the person’s fingerprints and then enter information into the computer about the crime that the person committed. Furthermore, the arresting officers present the crime information to a judge, and the judge decides whether the person leaves on his or her own recognizance, or if the person will have to pay a bail amount to get out of jail until the court date arises.

Waiting in Jail for the Court Date

The bail amount that the judge sets varies according to the person’s past and the nature of the crime. Shoplifting is not the most severe crime that one can commit, but the judge will indeed take the flight risk into consideration. The defendant will have to pay the bail amount before he or she can be released from holding. The person will have to stay in jail until the court date comes if the bail amount goes unpaid. A bail bond company may be the answer.

A bail bond company is a company that is owned by generous lenders who want to help defendants to get out so that they can try to go back to living their normal lives. Such a company will put up the bail amount so that the person who has the shoplifting charge can go home to his or her family members and job. The interested party must pay a small fee and sign a contract, but the bail bond agent can immediately free the defendant upon receiving payments. Defendants should be sure to show up for court to prevent the situation from worsening.

The Decision to Hire an Attorney

The decision to hire an attorney is an individual decision, but the shoplifting defense should be sure to do so. The reason is that a shoplifting record can ruin a person on many levels. The first thing it can do is make it hard for the person to get a job. It can also make family members and friends look at the person in an awkward fashion. Apartment complexes will most likely deny the person access to an apartment. The situation is quite serious. An attorney can help to have the case dismissed or have the penalties minimized.

Possible Shoplifting Penalties

Shoplifting can have a number of penalties. They vary from state to state. In the state of California, for example, shoplifting charges are generally separated into petty theft and grand theft. Grand theft is any thing over $950 in value. The penalty for a crime of less than $50 in value has a fine of up to $250 and is an infraction. A crime that is greater than $50 but less than $95 in value is a misdemeanor that can yield a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. After the first time, the sentences get stiffer. If the crime had extended circumstances such as firearms theft, the defendant can get up to three years in jail.

What an Attorney Can Do for You

The smart thing for a person to do after receiving a citation for shoplifting is to get on the phone and contact a bail bondsman first. Next, the person needs to get in touch with an attorney. The attorney can try to help the person to minimize the consequences of the action or spare his or her good name so that the person’s life will not be ruined. Attorneys are sometimes willing to make reasonable price adjustments so that a client can have the right coverage.

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