What are the factors or elements for 459.5 PC Shoplifting and 484 Petty Theft?

The crime of theft in California law is defined as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property.

And when the property that is taken is valued at nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less, then the theft is considered the California crime of petty theft under Penal Code 484 & 488 PC.

The majority of petty theft cases arise when someone simply physically takes property that belongs to someone else. This is known as “theft by larceny.”

California Penal Code 459.5  PC Shoplifting and 484 PC Petty Theft

However, there are other, more complicated forms of theft  that sometimes give rise to petty theft charges include:

  1. Theft by trick (for example, changing the price tag on an item in a store so that you can pay less for it),
  2. Theft byembezzlement in California law – that is, taking something that has been entrusted to you (usually money), and
  3. Theft byfraud or false pretense (telling a lie in order to persuade someone else to give you their property).

Also, the separate offense of shoplifting–which is defined in Penal Code 459.5 PC–consists of entering a commercial establishment while it is open, with the intent to steal items worth nine hundred fifty ($950) or less.

Here are some examples of activity that can lead to petty theft/shoplifting charges in California:

  • Shoplifting DVDs worth a couple hundred dollars;
  • “Borrowing” a $500 lawn mower from a neighbor when you have no intention of returning it; and
  • Taking a $300 smartphone from a shipment of phones you are delivering for your boss. 

Legal Consequences:

Both petty theft and shoplifting are misdemeanors in California law.

The maximum penalties for most first-time petty theft convictions are a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), up to six (6) months in county jail, or both. 

California Penal Code 459.5  PC Shoplifting and 484 PC Petty Theft

How we can defend you against charges of California Penal Code 459.5 PC Shoplifting and 484 PC Petty Theft? 

Potential legal defenses for petty theft or shoplifting include:

  • You did not intend to steal or shoplift the item,
  • The item actually belonged to you,
  • The person who owned the item consented to you taking it, and/or
  • You were falsely accused. 

Contact us:

We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.

The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!

Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

Don’t bargain with your freedom! The right attorney makes all the difference between your freedom and incarceration!

Please CLICK HERE to visit our dedicated page on shoplifting charges for more info.