Searched terms: California arrest, California arrest procedure, theft, petty theft California and the LD archives.
There was plenty of information but a lot of it is technical so I'm asking this for clarification purposes. I'm sorry to bring up Law&Order, but it's about the only contact with the US law system I've ever had so this might all seem very confused.
Where: California, Los Angeles. Current time.
Who: A man with 3 prior convictions in a different state for similar petty theft crimes.
What happens: A man who works the night shift in a convenience store is accused of theft by the owner of the store - of taking money from the register. Not by gun point. The owner says money is missing and that the employee took it. The owner calls the police and the police find some money on the employee and the owner says the money is from the register. (obviously this is all very much speculation on the owner's part, not actual evidence but then the police wouldn't know this).
What sort of evidence is required to make an arrest? Can the police arrest the employee based on 100$ in cash found in his pockets that doesn't necessarily come from the emptied cash box? Is this petty theft?
It's late, but: Do they interrogate him and the owner on the spot, or do they go to the station to interogate and take his fingerprints and then let him stay in jail overnight? I'm assuming they don't just jot down his adress and vitals and tell him they'll be in touch. Do they take the money from him? Search him? Anything else?
Does he get his phone call here? How common is it that someone is released after that or are they usually held until a judge sees them? Would he be given bail, or released without since he's accused of just having reached in to take money - would his prior convictions count against him here? How much is a common bail amount in petty theft cases, if given bail?
After all this: During the investigation: Does the police come to his house and search it, or do they go to the store to investigate or is he sent papers to sign? For instance, when I was run over by a car (uh yeah) in my country, the police took my statement and then the rest of the "investigation", since I had a license plate, was done via mail. Could this happen in California? "Sign this, admit to this, plead not guilty by checking this box".
The guy is prone to being sarcastic, how would the police respond to him making smart arse comments to them? Also, let's say he won't phone anyone, but the cops are familiar with this guy and know a friend of the guy, a lawyer or someone like that - could they call her and let her know her friend's been arrested? Or is that not allowed?
How long can these procedures take? Would it be months before the man goes to trial? Everything goes very quickly in L&O...
Sorry if this all seems inane but I'd hate to get stuff like this wrong.
Thank you for your help!