Los Angeles Petty Theft Attorney
Petty Theft (Penal Code section 484(a)) is a misdemeanor offense. A theft is considered a petty theft when the amount taken was under $950. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you (1) unlawfully took someone else’s property and (2) that the value of the property you took was $950 or less. If you are convicted of petty theft, you can be sentenced up to one year in County jail.
If the amount you stole was less than $50, however, you may be charged with an infraction petty theft instead. (Penal Code section 490.1(a).) It is up to the prosecutor to decided whether to charge you with an infraction or misdemeanor if the amount is under $50. Being able to obtain an infraction petty theft also depends on whether you have any prior theft convictions.
Petty Theft with Prior Conviction
if you have a prior theft conviction, you could be facing a felony theft crime charge and receive a state prison sentence. If you have been convicted of two serious or violent crime felony offenses, you could be facing a sentence of 25 years to life under California's three strikes law because the felony petty theft conviction would be considered your third felony offense.
Theft crimes are always a serious matter, even crimes as seemingly small as petty theft. Stealing a candy bar from a grocery store, a cigarette lighter from a gas station or a pair of socks from a department store may seem small, but the police could prosecute in a damaging way. In addition, the public shame of such a crime could alter your future. Your friends, family and community could still look at you differently if accused of petty theft.
Contact a Theft Crime Defense Lawyer
In order to get a conviction for petty theft, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will thoroughly review all the evidence, such as any store surveillance video tape, loss prevention reports from security personnel, police report, and any witness statements. In this manner, we may be able to find weaknesses in case and prepare a strong legal defense.
Legal defense in petty theft cases are often limited. However, there are a number of defense strategies a skilled defense lawyer can use on your behalf. For example, a theft crime requires that you had the intent to steal. Therefore, if you did not intend to steal, then this can be used in your defense. Also, if you did not possess the property or move it, then you did not intent to steal it. If you believed the property belonged to you when you took it, then it can be argued that you did not commit a theft crime.
If you have been arrested for, charged with or investigated for petty theft, then you need a criminal defense lawyer immediately. At Eisner Gorin LLP, our attorneys know the law and can provide a top notch legal defense. We have faced off against some of the best prosecutors in Los Angeles and our successful track record is a sign that our clients are in good hands.
Contact a Los Angeles petty theft defense lawyer at our law firm to learn about your legal rights and options.