Sonoma, CA asked in Criminal Law for California

Q: Is it still self defense if you've already committed a crime. Stole then maced manager for following me out parking lot

I was found off property and wasn't identified by victim but was by officer who watched tape. Stolen property was found near my location but not on me. I got charged with a robbery and assault. Is that right? Am I guilty?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: much more info needed.

if you stole then it is reasonable that someone would follow you to try to stop you.

if you then use MACE that may have enhanced the crime.

there are 2 kinds of evidence, direct and circumstantial. Both can convict.

Direct is when 2 people are in the room at a table and a cookie is in the middle.

if you see someone take it that is direct.

if you leave the room for a second and when you return the cookie is gone and there are

crumbs on the shirt of the person that had remained, then it is reasonable to believe that person took the cookie.

hire a lawyer now!

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You shouldn't discuss facts related to a criminal charge in a public venue. You may be charged with theft and aggravated battery (mace). More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AliEsq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, WA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

Michael J. Ocampo
Michael J. Ocampo
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Tustin, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: A perpetrator of a robbery does not have a right to self-defense. In general, self-defense is available only to those who are faced with imminent danger. CALCRIM 3470.

Shopkeepers, on the other hand, have the right to detain customers whom they believe are stealing. The purpose of this temporary detention is to determine whether the customer did, in fact, steal. This is known as the shopkeeper's privilege. Penal Code 490.5(f).

If a customer shoplifts and uses force during the commission of the theft, he can be charged with robbery, a felony that is punishable by up to 6 years in prison. Penal Code 211, 213(a)(1)(B).

That the perpetrator then maces the shopkeeper after he leaves the store does not affect the charge. The after-the-fact macing is viewed as part of the robbery, not as a separate crime. People v. Estes (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 23, 26.

A shopkeeper is well within his rights to invoke self-defense when he reasonably believes that an assault from a customer is imminent. This is true regardless of whether the anticipated contact is slight or severe. CALCRIM 3470.

Going forward, it would be prudent to discuss this case only with your retained attorney or deputy public defender.

Best of luck.

Michael J. Ocampo, Attorney at Law

https://ocampocriminaldefense.com

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