Are you facing criminal charges for petty theft in Los Angeles? Do not hesitate to contact The Rodriguez Law Group today for immediate legal assistance. Even though petty theft is generally charged as a misdemeanor, a conviction still carries significant consequences. If convicted of petty theft you will face jail time, fines, and likely be required to pay back the value of the property you stole. Once you have paid your debt to society you will still be forced to live with a criminal record, which will make your life incredibly difficult. You have the power to avoid the consequences of a conviction by hiring an experienced Los Angeles petty theft attorney to defend you. Call our Los Angeles office today to learn more about how our legal team can help you.
What is Petty Theft?
Petty theft is one of the least serious crimes of theft in Los Angeles, simply because of the value of the property stolen and the non-violent nature of the offense. There are actually many scenarios that can result in charges of petty theft, but the crime is most frequently committed when you simply take property valued at less than $950 from another person without permission. Shoplifting is a great example of a crime that could be charged as petty theft.
- Embezzlement; or
Petty Theft by Larceny
Petty theft, or petty theft by larceny, occurs when you unlawfully take property valued at less than $950 from another person with the intent to deprive them of its use. In order to be charged with petty theft by larceny you must move the property some distance. Charges for petty theft by larceny can be filed even if the value of the property stolen was slight. As long as property has some intrinsic value, taking it will be grounds for criminal charges.
Petty Theft by Trick
Petty theft by trick occurs when convince another person, using fraud or deceit, to consent to give you possession of their property (valued at less than $950). Generally, the victim believes that you are only taking the property temporarily. In reality, you have the intent to take the property permanently or for an extended period of time. The property owner must not have intended to give up ownership of that property.
Petty Theft by Embezzlement
Petty theft by embezzlement occurs when you take property (valued at less than $950) that has been entrusted to you. The owner of this property must not have intended to give up ownership of the property to you. Instead, you abuse your power and authority to use this entrusted property for your own gain.
Petty Theft by Fraud
Petty theft by fraud occurs when you intentionally lie in order to convince another person to give you their property (valued at less than $950). The property owner must not have intended, under normal circumstances, to give up ownership of their property. Instead, they relied on the deceitful information (false pretenses) you provided and gave up possession of their property.
It is important to note that if you take property directly from another person or use a weapon to facilitate the crime, the charges you face will be more serious.
Penalties for Petty Theft
In Los Angeles, petty theft is generally charged as a misdemeanor offense. However, there are certain situations when petty theft can be reduced to an infraction under Penal Code 490.1 PC or aggravated to a felony under Penal Code 666 PC. The specific charge you face will depend on:
- The value of the property stolen;
- Harm suffered by victims; and
- Your prior criminal record.
Misdemeanor Petty Theft: Misdemeanor petty theft is punishable by 12 months in a Los Angeles County prison, $1,000 in fines, restitution, and/or probation.
Felony Petty Theft: Felony petty theft is punishable by a maximum of 3 years in a California State prison, $10,000 in fines, restitution, and/or probation.
Defenses to Argue in Petty Theft Cases
Just because you have been charged with a crime does not automatically mean that you will be convicted. You have the right to assert any legal argument that will explain, excuse, and/or justify your alleged criminal behavior. Successfully arguing a legal defense will make it difficult for the prosecution to build a strong case against you. Defenses that may be helpful in your petty theft case include:
- You had permission to take the property;
- You did not take any property;
- You mistakenly took property;
- You have been falsely accused or mistakenly identified; or
- You did not intend to steal the property.
Fighting Criminal Charges of Petty Theft in Los Angeles
Have you been arrested and/or are facing criminal charges for petty theft in Los Angeles? Contact criminal defense attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez today for immediate legal assistance. Mr. Rodriguez is a former prosecutor who understands the consequences of a conviction. He will thoroughly investigate your alleged crime, determine where the prosecution’s case is weak, and leverage the state into reducing or dismissing the charges against you. You have the right to have an attorney defend you, so do not hesitate to call The Rodriguez Law Group today for help. We will review your case, determine the best legal strategy for defense, and explain your legal rights.