Los Angeles Petty Theft Defense Lawyer
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.