Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer for Petty Theft Defense
Petty theft is the charge applied to thefts of a relatively low value. Although petty theft is usually a misdemeanor charge, if two such prior convictions exist, it can be charged as a
felony. This can result in unusually severe punishment and courts do sometimes exercise this provision of the law. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, a criminal record is obviously not something to be taken lightly. You may also be faced with jail times as well as fines.
Explanation of Petty Theft Under California Law
Petty theft is defined under California Penal Code §§484 and 488. This is typically referred to as shoplifting, but the truth is that petty theft refers to any form of theft where the item taken is valued at below $950. This could be committed through larceny or could even through deception by tricking the owner of the property into giving you the property. For example, petty theft could be committed should the defendant work at a nursing home and using false pretenses to gain the trust of one of the elderly people, using this fraudulent relationship to trick them into giving over their possessions.
As always, however, it is important to recognize that there are defenses that can be levied on your behalf. At our firm, we have found that a common defense that can be utilized is stating that the defendant did not have the intentions of stealing the item. For example, say the defendant was shopping at a clothing store in the mall, was looking at an item and received a phone call. While talking on the phone, they got distracted and walked out of the store. If they were caught, they could be facing misdemeanor charges of petty theft, even if they did not have any intentions of stealing the item. Being absentminded is not a criminal offense and by working with our firm, we can ensure that you will not be falsely accused.
Another common defense that we can use on your behalf is stating that the item you are being accused of stealing was actually your own item. Even if you did not actually own the item, if it can be proven that you believed you were the rightful owner, it can be argued that you were acting in good faith and were not maliciously attempting to deprive the actual owner. This is legally defined as having a claim of right and can be used to help prove your innocence in a case relating to petty theft.
A criminal defense lawyer could improve your legal option!
Retaining a criminal defense attorney can do much to improve the outcome of your case. At Martinian & Associates, we offer a free initial consultation in which you may have your questions answered and gain a better understanding of your legal options. We understand that facing criminal charges of any magnitude is a very unsettling and frightening occurrence. At our firm, your case will be treated with the attention and importance it deserves. We are sensitive to the fact that our clients' lives can be heavily affected by the outcome if their case and take our duty and ability to help very seriously.
We will review your case and determine the best course of legal action. In some cases, it can be arranged to provide restitution to the victim or victims and subsequently have the charges dropped. If charges have already been filed, it may be possible to present evidence of restitution to the court and achieve a reduction of charges. For example, rather than petty theft one may be charged simply with trespassing, a crime which carries no jail time. We will explore whatever avenues are available that may lead to charges being reduced or dropped, or your acquittal.