SACRAMENTO – Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (Valley Center) announced legislation to impose stricter sentences on shoplifters who are repeatedly caught stealing from California businesses. AB 1597 will give prosecutors the discretion to charge thieves with three or more prior convictions for theft or receiving stolen property with either misdemeanors or felonies, restoring penalties to pre-Prop. 47 levels for repeat offenders.
“I believe in second chances,” said Waldron. “But your fourth conviction for stealing is not a mistake – it’s a lifestyle, and one that demands more serious consequences than we currently have. Our justice system needs to focus more on rehabilitation, but the lack of accountability for criminal behavior makes it harder to connect people with the services and programs they need to turn their lives around.”
The bill will ask voters to repeal a portion of Prop. 47 to allow a person with three or more convictions for petty theft, grand theft, elder financial abuse, auto theft, burglary, carjacking, robbery or felony receiving stolen property to be sentenced to up to three years in jail upon their fourth theft conviction.
Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents California’s 75th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 459.5 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) Notwithstanding Section 459, shoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950). Any other entry into a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny is burglary. Shoplifting shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that a as follows:
Section 490.2 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) Notwithstanding Section 487 or any other provision of law defining grand theft, obtaining any property by theft where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) shall be considered petty theft and shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that such as follows:
Section 666 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) Notwithstanding Section 490, every person who, having been convicted three or more times of petty theft, shoplifting, grand theft, a conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) or (e) of Section 368, auto theft under Section 10851 of the Vehicle Code, burglary, carjacking, robbery, or a felony conviction of Section 496 and having served a term thereof in any penal institution or having been imprisoned therein as a condition of probation for that offense, and who is subsequently convicted of petty theft or shoplifting is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(a) Sections 1, 2, and 3 of this act amend the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, Proposition 47, an initiative statute, and shall become effective only when submitted to and approved by the voters at a statewide election.
This act calls an election within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect.