Shoplifting (PC 459.5):
Entering an open business to steal merchandise worth $950 or less

Penal Code 459.5 PC is the statute that makes shoplifting a misdemeanor offense in California. This section defines shoplifting as entering an open business with the intent to steal merchandise worth $950 or less. The crime is punished by up to 6 months in jail.

What does the law of Shoplifting in California say?

459.5 PC states that “shoplifting is defined 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). Any other entry into a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny is burglary.”

What is the penalty associated with Shoplifting in California?

violation of this law is a misdemeanor. This is opposed to a felony or an infraction. The offense is punishable by Custody in county jail for up to six months, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

A judge can award misdemeanor (or summary) probation in lieu of jail time.

What are the best defense strategies?

Defense lawyers draw on several legal strategies in attacking or resolving shoplifting charges. These include showing that:

(1) the defendant repaid the business via a civil compromise.

(2) the accused performed certain acts under an informal diversion program.

(3) the defendant is innocent because he was mistaken by certain facts critical to the case.

(4) The accused developed an intent to steal after entering a business.

What are the 459.5 PC penalties?

A violation of this law is a misdemeanor. The offense is punishable by: custody in county jail (as opposed to state prison) for up to six months, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Merchants may also make a civil demand under Penal Code 490.5 PC.

Burglary PC 459 | Robbery PC 211

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