Fullerton, Shoplifting From Costco, Client Age 59, Diversion

Our client wanted to give his son a birthday present of a speaker for his I-pad.  However, our client, age 59, did not have the $39 that the speaker cost.  So he decided to put the speaker in his jacket pocket and walk out.  Loss prevention at the Fullerton Costco immediately spotted him and stopped him.

It was not our client’s first brush with the law, which would not be unexpected given his age.  He had a prior DUI and a prior criminal threats case, which was resolved as a misdemeanor (not a strike).  The prior convictions were both more than twenty years old.

When the client was taken to an office within Costco, he was tremendously embarrassed.  He was going through a brutal divorce and facing a civil lawsuit over a business problem, so being stopped for shoplifting was another problem to handle.
 
Loss prevention called the Fullerton police department, which took our client to the Fullerton Police Station and booked him.  Our client then signed a promise to appear in court at a later date on a charge of violating Penal Code §§ 484(a)-488 (“Petty Theft”).

The client called Greg Hill & Associates, who explained that a misdemeanor conviction for shoplifting could adversely affect his divorce and could be brought up in the civil case as evidence of his honesty.  Therefore, Greg told the client that the top priority in his case ought to be to resolve the case through a diversion, either as a delayed entry of plea or delayed entry of judgment.

Greg said a smart thing for the client to do would be the online National Association of Shoplifting Prevention shoplifting course, if nothing more than to have the prosecutor consider diversion for our client.  After all, in Orange County, the prosecutors can be quite strict and sarcastic, especially some of the younger ones.

The client then did the online class and Greg took the proof of completion of the course to court.  Luckily, the prosecutor assigned to the case was older and more professional.  He respectfully looked over the proof of completion of the course and offered our client a delayed entry of plea option, which the prosecutor said he would not normally do due to the client’s prior history, but in light of the online program completion, he extended the offer.  This included a requirement that our client enroll in and take yet another theft prevention class, however, this one was in an actual class room at Santa Ana City College.  It was a six hour class that cost our client $275.  Our client would also be required to provide a DNA sample at the Fullerton Courthouse.

The client was overjoyed at the offer because he knew if his ex-wife knew he was convicted of a crime of dishonesty, the divorce proceeding could take it into account in resolving the case, presumably on terms more favorable to her.

Likewise, the judge and jury in the client’s pending civil case could not consider the misdemeanor criminal conviction as an admission of fault when there is a “no contest” plea.  This is provided for at Penal Code § 1016.
 
This resolution was exactly what the client had hoped for and did receive.

For more information about the issues in this shoplifting case, please click on the following articles:
  1. What is Shoplifting and its Defense?
  2. What Punishment Do I Face for Shoplifting?
  3. I Got Caught for Shoplifting and Now the Store Threatens to Sue Me for $400 – What Should I Do?
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