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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20400
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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6 weeks ago, my friend was detained for switching a price tag

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6 weeks ago, my friend was detained for switching a price tag from $11.99 to $5.99 he was banned from the store, and released, but still haven't heard anything from them.

Thank you for the information. Can you tell me what your legal question is?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


The security guard said that they will send you a fine within 30 days. Do

my friend has to pay fine ? Can he be arrested ? What's the legal limit to set fine or

arrest ?

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).[3] 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.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Marsha - Thanks for replying. Another question I have is that my friend has been shopping regularly using store credit card. Does it reflect any

previous transactions or just at the time when he was detained for price switiching transaction ?.

You're welcome. I am not exactly sure I understand your question. But if you are asking if the store, or the prosecution, can track his spending and shopping history through the credit card, then yes, all that information would be available to the store and to the State if they issue a warrant or subpoena. If I have misunderstood your question, please clarify it for me so I can address the issue you are asking about. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The previous transactions all have been paid through credit card. The balance on the credit card fully paid. Will he be questioned about the

previous transactions ?


My friend haven't heard since the incident over a month. Does he need to

worry ? They kept the product and it was small amount ($5.00).

There really isn't any reason to believe that they would go back and question prior transactions. That just is not likely, especially since he wasn't caught at the time. So, I don't think he really needs to worry about those past purchases, that would be just too labor intensive for the company and the State for such a minor amount of money.

As for your fried worrying, I assume you mean about getting a bill from the store or a summons from the State. I would expect that if he is going to receive anything, it will be within the next few weeks. If he doesn't, then chances are the employer just concluded that since the amount was so small and he was banned from the store, that they will just let it go, and not pursue the issue any further as long as they don't catch him in the store again.
Marsha411JD and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the legal answer I provided to you on the 20th. The Site has been a little buggy lately so the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit (paid from the deposit you left with the Site) for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It's very nice of you to follow up. At present I don't have any question.



You're welcome and best to you.