Petty theft or shoplifting charges are most people’s first criminal offense. Thus, making their experience and the uncertainty surrounding both their present and future consequences that much more terrifying. In California, any theft of property or currency NOT exceeding $950 is considered petty theft under misdemeanor Penal Code statute 484. The penalties for a California petty theft conviction can result in jail time, probation, fines, community service, and/or “stay away” order from the victim or retail store. Although most first offense petty theft charges do not result in jail time, that does not make petty theft charges minor criminal offenses. Due to the fact the first offense punishment for petty theft rarely includes imprisonment in county jail for any period of time, many people often wonder if hiring a defense lawyer to fight petty theft charges is worth the investment or even necessary.
Yes! You Should Hire A Petty Theft Defense Lawyer
Even if you are being charged with a 1st offense or not, a petty theft conviction on your criminal record can have far-reaching ramifications beyond the aforementioned punishments. The effect on your background can impede your ability to secure employment, approval for personal and student loans. In addition, a petty theft conviction can also exclude you from professional licensing eligibility, Global Entry travel consideration, or even volunteering at your child’s school or recreational sports programs. Therefore, it is imperative that you retain a criminal defense attorney with a successful track record of obtaining reductions or dismissals of petty theft charges. For those facing criminal charges for the first time, it is normal to assume there exists no possible legal defense. However, in reality, petty theft charges can be dismissed or reduced to lesser offenses even in the face of overwhelming evidence proving guilt.