October 10, 2012 By Wallin & Klarich

Petty theft under California law is the taking of property of another valued at $950 or less and is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in county jail and a $1000 fine. Your attorneys at Wallin & Klarich wish to explain to you how a shoplifting offense can turn in to a robbery offense (PC 211) under California Law.

Petty theft is a relatively minor crime and most often takes place in the context of an individual shoplifting from a retail store or supermarket (California PC 484). Many businesses have Loss Prevention Officers (LPO’s) or private security companies working for them to help protect their merchandise form would-be shoplifters.

Robbery is defined under Penal Code 211 in California as the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear. Robbery is a very serious crime in California and is punishable by a maximum of up to 9 years in state prison.

Many times a shoplifter in California will be confronted by a Loss Prevention Officer or store employee. In some cases the shoplifter will threaten or assault the LPO or store employee who confronts that person. When this happens, a minor shoplifting offense quickly explodes into a very serious robbery offense. This type of robbery in California is known as an “Estes” robbery and prosecutors will often file robbery charges in these situations instead of petty theft charges even if the victim is not injured and even if the case involved only threats with no physical confrontation.

Anyone facing shoplifting (PC 484) or robbery (PC 211) charges in California should certainly consult with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been defending clients facing these types of charges for over 30 years. If you or a loved one is facing theft or robbery charges in Southern California, call us at 888-280-6839 now for a consultation. We’ll be there when you call.

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