Is Petty Theft Charged As A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
Petty theft will typically be charged as a misdemeanor. For many years, if you had multiple petty theft charges, it could elevate the charge to a felony. Now, prosecutors are much more reasonable, as far as how they file and resolve the case. In California, law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors have really gone away from the hardline approach. There are now diversionary programs available, lesser charges can be argued for, and they are much more open minded. The legislature and public have spoken.
What Penalties Can I Face If I Am Arrested For The Second Time For A Petty Theft Offense?
The courts in the San Fernando Valley are fairly reasonable. For a second petty theft charge, you may face jail time, probation, community service, and other penalties, depending on what the crime was and what your responsibility was. If you’ve got a good attorney with a game plan and a strategy for your theft-related offense, you’ve definitely got a fighting chance. There are a number of propositions that have passed and a different mindset on part of the prosecutors and the judges. A skilled attorney will present you, not as someone who steals, but as someone who’s got a lot to lose, has a future, and just made a mistake.
Can’t I Just Pay For The Merchandise In My Petty Theft Case And Have The Charges Dropped?
Oftentimes, the retail store will get you in an office, try to get a confession from you, and get you to sign a document that says you won’t come into their store anymore. At this point, they don’t really care about you paying for the merchandise. They are going to send you to their lawyers, who are going to try to collect civil assessments against you. A lot of times, you don’t have to pay those because they will never follow up. Then, they are going to call the police into the store and give them all the information. The police will document all of their information and then you are going to be prosecuted in one of the criminal courts.
If we don’t punish people who take things, then people will continue to take things over and over again. Stores lose thousands of dollars to theft-related offenses. When you have a petty theft case, you can’t just pay for it; you are going to have to get an attorney and defend yourself.
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