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.
Other Benefits Of Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer
In addition to improving your chances of avoiding a petty theft conviction on your record and the accompanying collateral consequences, hiring an experienced attorney for your petty theft case affords you the comfort and convenience of avoiding each of the numerous appearances in criminal court while your case is resolved, as your attorney can legally appear in court on your behalf. Whether it be the expense for travel and parking, or simply avoiding the stress and anxiety of standing in front of a judge, a competent criminal defense attorney will insulate you from this difficult process, while keeping you protected and informed of your case progress. Every one of our firm’s clients receives the peace of mind in knowing both their current and future interests will be protected at every stage of their case.
Charged With Petty Theft? Speak To A Member Of Our Petty Theft Defense Team
We have successfully defended petty theft charges in California since 1987. Each attorney at Sitkoff & Hanrahan, LLP is a former senior Los Angeles prosecutor with over 3 decades of criminal law experience. If you have been charged with PC 484 – petty theft, call our office today at (866) 430-8383 for a free case review at one of our offices located in: West Los Angeles, Torrance, Long Beach, West Covina, Pasadena, and Santa Clarita. Speak to our defense team immediately to learn how we can help you avoid a petty theft criminal record.