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Under California burglary law, Penal Code 459 PC, it is considered a burglary to enter any structure--including a store--with the intent to commit either a California felony or a California grand theft or petty theft.

What this means is that some people are convicted of burglary for entering a store intending to shoplift merchandise. And until recently, prosecutors had the discretion to charge this form of burglary as a felony.

Fortunately for defendants, beginning in 2015 the law on this kind of commercial burglary became a bit less harsh. California voters passed Proposition 47, which created the new offense of Penal Code 459.5 "shoplifting."

Shoplifting is defined as entering an open commercial establishment with the intent to steal merchandise worth nine hundred fifty dollars or less ($950). Unlike commercial burglary under PC 459, shoplifting is only a misdemeanor.

If you were convicted of felony second-degree PC 459 burglary for entering a store intending to steal, and the value of the merchandise you stole or intended to steal was $950 or less, your behavior now meets the definition of shoplifting. And under Proposition 47 you can apply for resentencing to the misdemeanor penalties for shoplifting.

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418