Every year from early December through January, thousands of individuals are arrested for petty theft throughout California. As the seasonal boom of holiday shoppers comes to a close, authorities keep a keen eye on potential spikes in crime. Increased shopping, personal spending, traveling, and drinking are likely drivers of these statistics — which translates to increased opportunities for retail theft.
Additionally, with companies already planning promotional strategies and retailers estimating their fiscal fourth-quarter sales, loitering individuals are causing a rise in shoplifting. If you were recently arrested for one of these crimes, it is vital to protect your freedom and livelihood to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Common Retail Crimes During Holidays
The most common types of theft are shoplifting and employee theft. Shoplifters often target high-value items such as cosmetics, jewelry, and clothing. Employee theft is when an employee steals from their employer or assists others in doing so. Cash register fraud is the most common form of employee theft, which involves employees stealing money from their employers by manipulating cash registers, credit card machines or gift cards.
Shoplifting isn't always done on purpose with bad intentions in mind. Sometimes it's accidental or unintentional. For example, if you're buying gifts for family members and friends, you may be tempted to take advantage of sales that are only available for a limited time and not available again until next year. But even if you accidentally take something by mistake, you can still be charged with shoplifting if you try to leave the store with it before returning it.
Criminal Defense in a Theft Case
· Theft is a crime of specific intent: To be charged with theft, you must intend to deprive the owner of their property permanently. For example, if you intended to return it later or give it back when you got caught, you may not have committed theft. However, this would be very hard to prove.
· There was no victim: For there to be a crime of theft, there must be an identifiable victim whose property was stolen. If you took something from someone who wasn't the owner or had no right to possess that property in the first place, then no crime has been committed because there is no actual victim.
· You didn't have criminal intent or mens rea: You can only be convicted if it can be proven that you acted with criminal intent—knowing that what you were doing was wrong and committing the act anyway.
How Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You
There's no denying that stealing is wrong, and most of us wouldn't make a habit of it. Whether you were caught shoplifting on a trip to the local store to find a gift for your loved one or pilfering clothes for yourself, you may be headed to jail as punishment.
If you are facing charges of theft, petty theft, shoplifting, or even robbery, contact one of our attorneys here at the Kann California Law Group to ensure that your rights are protected and you avoid the potential consequences associated with these types of serious crimes. Getting a second chance is essential, which is why we will fight to protect your reputation and freedom.
Whether you are facing allegations of a misdemeanor or felony theft, we will put our resources to work for you. Reach out to us at (888) 744-7730 or contact us online to set up a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case.