The law in California permits a privately retained lawyer to appear and represent a client in Court on a misdemeanor charge, shoplifting or petty theft is such a charge. Having defended hundreds of these types of cases I can say that most of my clients are too embarrassed and humiliated to want to stand before a Judge in open Court and enter a plea to the charges. My job is to remove that aspect of the case and resolve the charges with little or no long term consequences.
Most shoplifting allegations have little or nothing to do with taking an item because of monetary reasons. Most people accused of petty theft have the financial means to pay for the merchandise, the act is more likely motivated by the thrill of taking something , some emotional or mental condition, or in some circumstances a mere misunderstanding or accident.
Because of my near 20 years experience in handling these cases, I have the respect and credibility with prosecutors and Judges that allow me to negotiate a dismissal of the charges or a reduction to a lesser offense that will not stigmatize the person as a “thief” or person or low moral character.
In most cases it is not necessary for me to read the police reports in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a given case. This is because most loss prevention officers who write the reports use a “boilerplate” approach that bears little resemblance to the true facts. I am often more interested in the accused story and recitation of the facts of the case, it more often than not, is a more accurate account of what really happened.