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Petty Theft in California

Pasadena Theft Crime Lawyer

Theft is somewhat of an umbrella term statement and within this generalized crime, there are a number of forms it can come in. Robbery is often theft that is committed on a larger scale. The amount stolen can be higher and weapons may be used in the process. Petty theft is a smaller crime but it can still come with harsh penalties for those that are found guilty by the court. Call a Pasadena criminal defense attorney as soon as you are charged to begin fighting for you.

It is best that you do not speak with officers before your attorney is present. In the moment a situation can appear unfavorable but the more the pieces come together it may be more evident that a person is innocent. At The Law Offices of Matthew Cargal, we will look to clear your name, whether you are innocent or are being penalized more than what you deserve. Start as soon as possible by filling out a case evaluation form and we will assess it free of charge.

The Legal Side of Petty Theft

Man stealing phone out of woman’s purse - what is petty theft in California

According to California law, codes 484 and 488, petty theft is taking the property of a person against their will in an amount that reaches up to $950. Typically tried as a misdemeanor, petty theft is penalized by of up to $1,000 in fines, six months in jail or up to three years of probation.

If a second offense of the same or similar nature occurs then the charge may be increased to a felony. This is known as a Petty Theft with a Prior and is covered under California Penal Code 666. This can result in penalties of up to a year in a county jail for a misdemeanor or up to three years in prison if the charge was a felony. When the theft charge is the first one in California you are facing, the penalties may be much less. For those that allegedly took an amount of $50 or less, it may be possible to reduce the matter to an infraction which can result in a fine of up to $250.

Examples of Theft

Petty theft can be done through a number of ways, and the most common type includes shoplifting. This is when a person takes property from a store, without paying for it and without being given it by someone from the store with the authority to do so. Taking another person's property without any authority is also referred to as larceny. Petty theft may also be committed through false pretense; when a person presents untrue or misguiding information in an effort to benefit themselves through the acquisition of property, money, labor or other wrongfully attained item.

Embezzlement can also occur and this is a crime that takes place through depriving the rightful owner of what is theirs, after they have given it to you through trusting circumstances. This may be an employee that is entrusted with a financial responsibility and rather than carrying it through, they monetarily benefit themselves instead. The last way that this form of theft can occur is through tricking a person to believe the item is worth less than it is.

Defense Against Pasadena Petty Theft Charges

Not all charges meant that the crime was actually committed or that it was carried out to the degree that is being stated. For those that are believed to have shoplifted, there are a number of factors that can come in to play and reasons that you may be innocent. It is not uncommon for a shopper to forget that the put an item in their cart or that they are holding it. They may walk out of the store without paying for it and had no intention of committing a crime. In other instances of petty theft, you may have been given consent to take the item. If the person later changes their mind this should not mean that you have to deal with legal consequences.

Reasons can also include being setup or being put in a bad light that does not actually fit the situation. There are ways to fight these allegations and our firm is highly capable of taking these matters into our hands and executing them in a successful manner. We have earned positive results for many of those we have served, having their charges reduced or fully dropped. For more than 25 years, our criminal defense attorney has been protecting the rights of the accused.

Contact us today if you are charged with theft or another crime and need a capable defender on your side.