A firefighter is now fighting to retain his high-paying job after a court convicted him of shoplifting. The firefighter was charged with shoplifting for allegedly failing to pay for several food items at a convenience store, all amounting to $7.98. The judge who found him guilty of stealing those items further said that the accused must also forfeit his job as a firefighter and a lifeguard following the conviction. The firefighter plans to appeal the lower court’s decision.

Public employees in most states in the U.S. are held to a high standard of integrity and can lose their jobs if found to have been convicted of an offense of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude include those involving fraud or dishonesty, including shoplifting, regardless of the amount involved.

What Is Shoplifting?

The California Penal Code Section 459.5 defines shoplifting as entering an open commercial establishment with the intent to steal products or goods worth $950 or less. Depending on the actual amount involved, the alleged shoplifting may be charged as petty theft or grand theft.

Legal Consequences of Shoplifting Conviction

  • If found guilty of the accusation of stealing or entering with the intention to steal from a shop or store, the accused may be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both
  • A public employee may be subjected to administrative discipline including dismissal from employment
  • Students applying for post-graduate courses may be required to disclose any conviction, which may have a negative impact on their applications
  • Immigrant status of a non-US citizen may be affected by a shoplifting conviction

Shoplifting Criminal Defenses

If you are charged with shoplifting in California, you may be entitled to defenses and other remedies that an experienced criminal law attorney can raise on your behalf. Your lawyer can examine the charges, weigh the evidence against you, and determine appropriate defenses that can result in a dismissal, not-guilty decision, or diversion program.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be able to request for a dismissal of your conviction under California Penal Code section 1203.4.

In Los Angeles, California, the Kestenbaum Law Group has a proven track record in criminal defenses of property crimes such as shoplifting. Our attorneys are committed to providing legal assistance to clients, and may be reached by telephone at any time of the day.

We invite you to call us at (818) 616-4312 to learn how we can help you.