Los Angeles Shoplifting Attorney
California law defines theft offenses as unlawfully and intentionally taking property that does not belong to you. Under state statutes, petty theft is further defined as stealing property valued at less than $950. Although the act is more commonly described as shoplifting, petty theft can encompass a broad range of crimes, including taking goods from a clothing store, paying for a handful of items and not the one at the bottom of your cart, or dining and dashing.
A conviction for petty theft may seem minor, but even being accused of the offense has the potential to cause a ripple effect that disrupts every aspect of your life. These consequences you face for this offense make obtaining representation from a knowledgeable shoplifting attorney extremely important.
Petty Theft Under California Law
Under California Penal Code (PC) 484(a) and 488, petty theft is defined as the unlawful taking of property valued at less than $950. To be convicted of this offense, the prosecution needs to prove that you:
There are a number of offenses that fall under the umbrella of petty theft, including:
It is important to note that the above offenses can only be charged as petty theft as long as the value of the property stolen does not exceed $950.
Petty Theft Penalties
Under California law, petty theft is considered a misdemeanor. If you’re found guilty of this offense, you face the following statutory penalties:
If you’re facing a first offense for petty theft or the value of the property you stole was $50 or less, your attorney may be able to argue your charge down to an infraction and possibly complete a diversion program as opposed to jail time and fines. If you’re found to have committed this offense, you could face:
- A fine of no more than $250
If you have, however, been convicted of petty theft in the past, your current charge is considered a “wobbler.” This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If it’s considered a felony, you face:
- Three years in prison
In addition to jail time and fines, a criminal conviction can have a great effect on your life in many other ways. With a petty theft conviction on your record, you may face difficulty getting into college, obtaining/maintaining employment, obtaining financial aid for school, and more. That is why it is important to contact a Los Angeles petty theft attorney if you’re facing petty theft charges.
Defenses Against Shoplifting
Like many other offenses, a conviction in a petty theft case relies on the willful intention to commit the crime. Some legal defenses that may be used to fight petty theft charges include:
Though all of these defenses could be used to combat petty theft charges, you will need a shoplifting attorney to successfully prove your innocence. To learn more about defenses to petty theft allegations, call our firm today.
How a Los Angeles Shoplifting Attorney Can Help
Charges of petty theft should not derail your life. The counsel of an experienced petty theft lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. could mean the difference between reducing your charges to an infraction or accepting a felony conviction. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.