Orange County shoplifting attorney

It happens more often than you might realize. You are shopping at a retail store, get what you need, and go through the checkout line. As you leave the store, you are stopped by security. Next thing you know, you're talking to the police. They are searching for you because you allegedly stole something from the store, and now you are facing criminal charges for shoplifting.

Whether it was an oversight or a bad mistake on your part, a shoplifting conviction on your record can result in numerous problems. It is largely viewed as a crime involving moral turpitude and can negatively impact certain aspects of your life. Anyone who pulls a background report on you will see it on your criminal record, and it could cast a shadow on your integrity to potential landlords or employers.

A petty theft offense like shoplifting is not something that you want to follow you for the rest of your life. A brief moment of poor judgment, a mistake, or an accident should not follow you forever, especially if you make it right and correct the problem. At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we have an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense legal team, and we're ready to go to work for you.

When you choose to work with our law firm, you can rest assured that we will work hard to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome for your case. Call today for your free consultation and put us to work, working for you.

Experienced Representation From an Orange County Shoplifting Attorney

Experienced representation

Stealing property that does not belong to you is serious and can carry harsh penalties. Still, at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we focus on taking the necessary steps to reduce your charges or dismiss your case. We aren't here to judge you or lecture you. We are here to protect your rights and ensure that your day in court has the best outcome possible.

We will be at your side every step of the way, from beginning to end. If you have questions, we're here. When you enter that courtroom, we'll be right beside you. At every step in the legal process, we will ensure you understand what is going on and your options. That way, you can make informed decisions about your case and your future.

A. Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation - Your initial consultation is free, and a legal team member will have a sit-down session to review your case. We'll advise you on the next steps to take and what you may be looking at when you go to court. When you choose to have our team represent you, we will give your case the utmost importance - because we care about you and your future.

B. Collecting Evidence and Investigating the Circumstances of the Arrest - When we go to work for you, one of the first things we will do is begin our own investigation of the details concerning the alleged crime and your arrest. We will collect evidence of all types, including witness testimonies, physical evidence, and expert witnesses if needed. This will help us build your shoplifting defense strategy.

C. Evaluating Surveillance Footage and Witness Statements - Not all witness statements are good for your case. We will evaluate your witnesses and their testimonies and statements. We'll also review surveillance footage to see if there is anything that will work in your favor. If there is evidence to be found to support your case, we'll work tirelessly to find it.

D. Identifying Potential Defenses - We construct defense strategies on a case-by-case basis, but there are some that work with nearly all cases, although they may need to be tweaked a bit. Some of the common defenses of the petty theft crime of shoplifting are lack of intent, mistaken identity, consent to possess the item, and belief of ownership or right.

E. Presenting a Compelling Defense Strategy in Court - In court, we will present your defense strategy I'm the most compelling way possible. We will ensure that your story is told and the jury hears your side. We will work diligently to secure a reduction in your charges, get you a good plea bargain, or get your case dismissed.

Shoplifting Definition Under the California Law

California Penal Code § 459.5 PC breaks down the crime of shoplifting into four key elements that must be met:

The law goes on to explain that any other type of entry into the establishment with the intent to steal is the crime of burglary.

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor, but a person with prior convictions (one or more) of certain crimes may receive harsher penalties.

If a person is charged with shoplifting, they cannot also be charged with theft or burglary of the same property.

Understanding the Types of Shoplifting Charges

Understanding the types of shoplifting charges

Shoplifting is petty theft, but other related theft crime charges can get you into some serious legal hot water. Theft is taking someone else's property to deprive them of it permanently, but it is more complex than just setting out to steal property. These are some of the other theft crimes.

Petty Theft

Petty theft occurs when the property stolen has a value of less than $950. It is a misdemeanor but can get you some time in the county jail.

Grand Theft

Theft of real or personal property valued at more than $950 is regarded as grand theft. This a wobbler offense and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or it can get you felony charges.


Breaking, or burglary, is entering a home or business intending to steal property or commit a felony. Forced entry is not necessary to be charged with this crime.


Robbery is taking personal property that belongs to someone else and is in their immediate presence. It is achieved by fear or force.

Legal Elements in a Shoplifting Case

The prosecution must prove three elements in petty theft crimes, like shoplifting, beyond a reasonable doubt. Those elements are:

If the prosecutor proves these things, the crime is considered shoplifting.

What You Should Do if You Are Accused of Shoplifting in Orange County

What should you do if you are accused of shoplifting in Orange County

Although Senate Bill 553 makes it illegal for employers to require their employees to confront shoplifters, shoplifting is still a crime. If you are stopped and accused of shoplifting, you can best cooperate physically but remain silent. In other words, don't fight, especially if it is a police officer.

Listen to the police officer, but don't talk. Don't try to talk your way out of it, even if you are falsely accused. Don't try to bargain with the officer. Don't try to explain anything. You should only say that you want to talk to your attorney. Then you call your Orange County criminal lawyer and let them handle it.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Orange County, CA

Penalties for shoplifting

California law classifies shoplifting as a misdemeanor, but it can carry a punishment of up to six months in the county jail as well as a fine of as much as $1,000. If the accused has prior convictions, those penalties can be even harsher. Those prior convictions include:

Penalties can also include community service, probation, and diversion programs for first-offense shoplifting offenders.

Shoplifting as a Misdemeanor Conviction

Shoplifting crimes that are misdemeanors carry a sentence of up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.

Shoplifting as a Felony Conviction

Shoplifting charges that are convicted as felonies carry a sentence of up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Diversion Programs for First-Time Shoplifting Offenders

The state of California has a first-time offender program that allows defendants with no prior convictions to avoid jail time. The District Attorney must agree, but once that happens, the defendant may enter the program, which may require them to pay restitution, attend classes, and submit to counseling or a treatment program. These programs typically run for about a year, but some can run longer.

What the Prosecutor Must Prove To Convict You for Shoplifting

What the prosecutor must prove to convict you for shoplifting

The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) you entered the business that was open to the public during its normal hours of operation and 2) that you entered that business with the intention of stealing something.

Common Defenses for Shoplifting Charges

Several common defenses are often used in shoplifting cases. These include:

Contact The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia for Your Orange County Shoplifting Case Today

Contact The Law Office of Frances Prizzia

Don't wait to see what happens if you are facing shoplifting charges. You need a criminal defense attorney fast, and The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia can help. We will vigorously fight to safeguard your rights and get your charges reduced. We can help you avoid jail time so that you get community service instead - or your case could be dismissed altogether.

Don't let theft charges affect your future. Call today, and let us fight for you.



California defines robbery as the following: Unlawful taking of another's personal property whether it is in their personal possession or not through means of violence or threat. For example, if you hurt or threaten to injure someone in order to gain possession of something that belongs to them, then you can be charged with robbery. Our Orange County criminal defense lawyer can provide you with professional legal representation if you have been arrested and charged with robbery.

Get in touch with our firm today to learn how we can help!


Robbery is classified into two different categories, first and second degree. These classifications are based on the events surrounding an alleged robbery. First degree robbery, as the weightier offense, can only be charged if the crime occurs under a specific set of circumstances.

First degree robberies must fulfill one of the following criteria:
  • Robbing a person who is operating any sort of vehicle or transportation device
  • Robbing any person who is in or on vehicle
  • Robbing someone inside a house or inhabited premises
  • Robbing someone who has just used an ATM

Second degree robberies consist of everything that does not fulfill any of the criteria listed above. Consequences can range from extended prison sentences and expensive fines to minimal jail time and fines. Do not risk a conviction for these serious charges; work with a lawyer who has experience with theft charges and will provide the dedicated defense you need to see these allegations eliminated or dismissed.


Searching for a lawyer for robbery in Orange County? Our law firm understands what you are going through. You have made a mistake but we can help you form a defense. We are committed to thoroughly inspecting each crime scene and analyzing each piece of evidence. Attorney Frances Prizzia is always available to speak to clients regardless of day or time. We always strive to provide a compassionate approach to each case we represent because we know the stress that can build from your charge.

The battle is not lost. We work hard for each case we represent because we understand how much it means to our clients. Our firm always attempts to negotiate with the prosecution before proceeding to trial. The extensive research and examination done by our firm will establish legitimacy for defense. We will do everything in our power to see your charge reduced or dropped.

Contact a theft crime lawyer for a free consultation if you have been arrested and charged with burglary!



Carjacking consists of taking a motor vehicle through the use of force or fear from an owner or passenger's immediate presence with the intent to deprive them of the vehicle. Carjacking is different from grand theft auto in that the vehicle being stolen must be in the immediate possession or presence of an owner.

For example, if someone is filling their car up with gas and you threatened to hurt them if they did not give you the car, you can be charged with carjacking. An Orange County criminal defense lawyer can provide you or a loved one with committed legal representation for a carjacking charge.


California places heavy fines and possible prison sentences up to nine years for those convicted of carjacking. The use of fear and force make this charge very serious as you could have threatened the life of another. Attorney Frances Prizzia understands what you are going through. You may be experiencing financial hardships or been pressured to commit the criminal act. Regardless of reason, we believe in your defense.

We at the Law Office of Frances Prizzia have in-depth knowledge of criminal law. Our legal team will investigate your case to determine the appropriate course of action. You do not want your freedom and finances to be in jeopardy. Our firm can help you form a defense for your upcoming negotiation or trial.


We encourage our clients to come speak with us. Our firm enjoys helping people reduce their criminal charges. You may have made a mistake but we can fight aggressively for your rights and a second chance. It may be necessary to call upon our extensive resources such as our investigator to obtain supporting evidence for your defense. We will do everything we can to see your charge reduced or dropped.

Contact a criminal defense lawyer if you or a loved has been charged with carjacking. We can provide in-depth legal knowledge and dedicated representation throughout the litigation process.



If you are facing criminal charges for burglary or any other type of theft crime, it is important that you speak with an Orange County criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. California comes down hard on theft crimes and punishes them to fullest extent of the law. Only a truly experienced and skilled defense attorney can help you to avoid or overcome these serious charges. Being charged with a crime is extremely frightening.

The criminal justice system can be confusing and unfeeling; however, our justice system was designed to protect you from unfair prosecution and sentencing. You have a right to an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side and you are considered innocent in the eyes of the law unless proven guilty.

Burglary is a misdemeanor in the state of California, unless committed outside of business hours or the amount stolen is worth more than $950, at which point it could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the defendant was carrying a weapon, the charge may be considered aggravated burglary. Aggravated burglary charges carry extremely severe penalties.

Accused of burglary in Orange County? Let us know what happened. We will review your case for free, so call us at (714) 362-0157 or contact us online now.


Need an attorney for a burglary case? If the individual is charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit a crime, he or she may be charged whether or not the intended crime ever occurred. Burglary is most commonly associated with theft; however, it may also be related to other types of crimes such as assault.

The Law Office of Frances Prizzia aggressively defends clients utilizing years of experience and ample resources. We will not back down in the face of persistent prosecution and will uncompromisingly defend our clients' position and rights. Facing criminal charges is difficult. If you would like to speak with us, we are here to listen. Please call our firm today so that your case can be thoroughly reviewed by a seasoned attorney.

Contact an Orange County burglary attorney from the firm if you have been charged with burglary and would like to know your best course of action.

Theft Crimes

Orange County theft attorney

A criminal conviction on your record can have a lasting impact on your life for an indefinite period. It could be visible to potential employers, licensing boards, and romantic partners alike. Your record, whether it involves petty theft, grand theft, or felony grand theft, significantly shapes others' perceptions of you. Even if you have transformed your life for the better, overcoming the lingering impact of your past is still arduous.

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, our seasoned Orange County criminal defense attorneys specialize in mitigating the repercussions of criminal charges. We excel in making these consequences disappear altogether when possible. This includes theft charges.

Committed & Knowledgeable Defense for Your Orange County Theft Charges

Committed & knowledgeable defense for your Orange County theft charges

The future can look uncertain if you have been arrested for a theft crime or are awaiting trial for your burglary or robbery charge.

Don't leave your future to chance, and don't try to navigate the complexities of the Orange County legal system on your own. Get legal representation that you can count on.

Get The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia on your side.

From start to finish, we'll be by your side, helping, supporting, and guiding you every step of the way. We will advocate tirelessly to safeguard your rights and work hard to get a positive outcome for your case.

We'll put our many years of knowledge and experience to work for you, regardless of the charges you are facing. No case is too big or too small. Call today for your free case review and get the legal assistance that you deserve.

What You Need To Know About Theft Crimes

There are a wide variety of illegal actions that fall under the theft crimes umbrella:

Under California law, a theft crime is charged as grand theft if the value of the money, real property, labor, or property stolen exceeds $950. There is also certain prohibited property that is grand theft as well. Any property theft with a value less than $950 or items not on the prohibited list falls under petty theft.

Grand theft is a wobbler offense, which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. This adds to the complexity of theft crimes, and that is why getting a good attorney is a must.

Types of Theft Cases Handled by an Orange County Attorney

Types of theft cases handled by an Orange County attorney

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we handle all types of theft charges. So, if you face any of these theft charges, call and let us work with you to create a solid defense strategy and get you the best possible outcome for your case in Orange County.

Petty Theft and Shoplifting Cases

Shoplifting is a type of petty theft. Petty theft is defined by California Penal Code § 488 as property stolen that is less than $950.

California Penal Code 459.5 defines the crime of shoplifting as "entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950)." It is typically charged as a misdemeanor.

Grand Theft and Related Property Crimes

California Penal Code 487 defines grand theft as the theft of another person's property directly from their person, and the cost of that personal property exceeds $950. Stealing a firearm or motor vehicle is also grand theft, regardless of the value of that property.

Grand theft, being classified as a wobbler, means it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Embezzlement and White-Collar Theft Offenses

California Penal Code (CPC) §503 defines embezzlement as the illegal acquisition, by means of fraud, of another person's or business's property that has been entrusted to the perpetrator. Other crimes, such as wire fraud, may accompany an embezzlement charge.

Motor Vehicle Theft and Related Charges

Motor vehicle theft falls under grand theft and is defined under California Penal Code 487(d)(1). Also known as grand theft auto, motor vehicle theft arises when a person takes a car that does not belong to them with the intent of keeping it or keeping it for a long time. Another related charge is joyriding, which is covered under Vehicle Code 10851 VC, is the unauthorized taking or driving of a vehicle without the consent of the owner.

Identity Theft and Fraud Cases

Identity theft is taking another person's name, financial account, or social security number and using it for illegal purposes, typically financial gain. It is a wobbler offense, so a person charged with misdemeanor identity theft could have to pay a fine and spend up to a year in the county jail or both. A felony under this law carries a much heftier prison sentence, a higher fine, and restitution.

What To Do if You Are Charged With a Theft Crime

If you are charged with a theft crime, you should first hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. A theft conviction on your criminal record is damaging to your future. A good attorney will work to get the charge reduced or thrown out so your record is clean. They may be able to reduce your jail time as well.

Legal Consequences of Theft Crimes

Legal consequences of theft crimes

A theft conviction can have serious consequences and affect your life in many ways. If you are convicted of theft, you could face up to three years in prison for some charges, but even lesser charges could land you in county jail for up to six months or even a year.

Some theft charges might seem minor, but even shoplifting charges can be detrimental when they show up on your record. Furthermore, repeat offenders tend to get harsher penalties, such as more jail time and higher fines.

Possible Defense Strategies for Theft Cases in Orange County

Each case is different, but there are several common defense strategies that attorneys typically use in a theft case:

Challenging the Evidence Presented by the Prosecution

Challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution

There are many different types of evidence that the prosecution can present:

The defense may try to go after any of the evidence that the prosecution is trying to use. They may present it in such a way that it could be deemed inadmissible in court, meaning that it can't be introduced or used against the defendant.

Establishing Lack of Intent or Mistaken Identity

Ignorance of the law is not the same as lack of intent. Ignorance of the law is not a viable defense, but lack of intent is. The defendant could have taken the item, not realizing it was stolen. They may have thought it was their property or that they had permission from the owner to take it.

A mistaken identity can be established with a good alibi. If the defendant can show that he was not in the area where the theft occurred when it occurred, it can be deemed a case of mistaken identity.

Proving Lawful Ownership or Consent in Disputed Property Cases

If the defendant can show proof of ownership, then the theft charges will be dropped. Likewise, if he can show that they had consent from the property owner, that can negate their theft charges. Some ways that the defense may prove consent include:

Exploring Diversion Programs or Alternative Sentencing Options

California has five types of diversion and alternative sentencing programs that keep offenders out of jail. Several of these programs can be applied to theft charges:

Community service – The defendant performs work that is beneficial to their community or neighborhood.

Home detention – Also called house arrest. The defendant is required to stay at home and has certain restrictions that he must adhere to. These may include visits with their parole officer or random drug testing.

Drug diversion – Defendants of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to a drug diversion program. If they complete the program, their drug charges are dropped.

Drug treatment programs – This is for defendants whose drug offenses did not involve violence. Under Proposition 36, they must plead guilty, but they would avoid prison time. Once they complete the program, they return to court, and the judge may choose to dismiss the charges, although that is not guaranteed.

Probation – Misdemeanors and felonies are eligible for this alternative sentencing option. The defendant must regularly report to an officer of the court, and they must fulfill certain responsibilities and requirements.

Schedule an Initial Consultation With Our Orange County Theft Attorney at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia

Schedule an initial consultation with our Orange County theft attorney

If you have been charged with a theft crime, you don't have to go through it alone. You deserve the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for you and protecting your rights. You get that and more when you choose The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia.

Call today for a free consultation and get the representation that you deserve.