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Walnut Creek Shoplifting Crime Lawyer

Defending Clients Accused of Retail Theft in the Bay Area

Retail theft is a serious crime in California. Depending on the value of the stolen property, a shoplifting offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted, you could face significant fines, jail time, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. Even if you are innocent, hiring a competent attorney can be difficult because many lawyers do not have experience with this type of case. At the Law Offices of Thomas F. McKenna, our Walnut Creek shoplifting crime lawyer has handled thousands of cases in his career and has a proven track record of success.

Call (925) 744-8404 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free initial consultaiton.

What Is Considered Shoplifting in California?

Under California law, a person commits the crime of shoplifting if they enter a commercial establishment with the specific intent to steal property and do one of the following:

  • Remove the property from the premises without paying for it;
  • Alter the price tag or other price marking on the property;
  • Transfer the property from one container to another; or
  • Remain on the premises and:
  • Use the property; or
  • Deposit the property into a container.

It is important to note that the prosecution must prove that you had the intent to steal before you left the store in order to be convicted of shoplifting. This can be difficult for the prosecution to prove if you had the intent to buy the item when you entered the store, but changed your mind while inside.

Penalties for Shoplifting in California

In general, the value of the stolen property determines the severity of the penalty for a shoplifting offense. If the value of the stolen property is less than $950, the offense is charged as a misdemeanor. If the value of the stolen property is more than $950, the offense is charged as a felony. The penalty for a misdemeanor shoplifting offense includes a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. The penalty for a felony shoplifting offense includes up to 16 months, two years, or three years in prison. In addition to these penalties, a person convicted of shoplifting may also be required to pay restitution to the store owner for the value of the stolen property.

While misdemeanor and felony shoplifting offenses are similar, a felony conviction carries the possibility of a strike on your record under California's Three Strikes Law. A strike may result in the loss of your professional license, your right to vote, and/or the loss of other important rights. It is important to note that even if you did not intend to steal the item, you can still be charged with shoplifting if you do not pay for the merchandise before leaving the premises.

Why Choose the Law Office of Thomas F. McKenna for Your Case?

Attorney Thomas F. McKenna has handled thousands of cases in his career and has a proven track record of success. When you hire our firm, you can rest assured that you will receive the personal attention and aggressive representation you need. In addition, our firm is always available to take your calls and answer your questions. We understand that having a shoplifting charge on your record can be stressful and confusing. We are here to help you understand the legal process and can work to reduce the penalties you face.

If you have been accused of shoplifting in the Bay Area, do not wait to contact our firm. Call the Law Office of Thomas F. McKenna at (925) 744-8404 today for a free consultation!


  • This firm is the best in the Bay Area.

    “Thomas F. Mckenna is more than a criminal justice Lawyer, he and his staff are attentive, timely, caring, and get the results you want.”

    Shelly S.
  • They showed that they care and are responsible throughout the process.

    “Tom and his team were very pleasant to deal with.”

    Andy H.
  • One of the best lawyers in the Bay Area!

    “He will get you the best deal and even NO time at all!”


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