Hello again and thank you for your reply. The store has a right to recover a "civil" penalty under California Penal Code subsections 490.5(b) and (c). That statute provides that a person who steals or attempts to steal merchandise from a merchant may be civilly liable to the merchant for between $50 and $500, plus costs, plus the value of the item stolen, if it has not been recovered in its original condition.That though is separate from any criminal
penalty for being charged by the State with shoplifting. In other words, the store has a civil claim and the State has a criminal case. So, if he does not pay the fine issued by the store, then the store can sue him in small claims court
for the fine.
Then, there is a possible criminal prosecution for attempted theft
. The prosecutor can charge this as either an infraction, which would only carry a fine of up to $250, or they can charge it as a misdemeanor
would could result in jail time of up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1000. I can only guess what will happen, but I am guessing that since the value here was so low, that even if the prosecutor does file charges, it will be an infraction, which is NOT a criminal conviction.
Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.