I've been practicing criminal defense for nearly twenty-five years in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles and I've noticed that on theft crimes, the authorities are usually particularly harsh – wanting a conviction, wanting the person to get booked, so that if they get a future theft crime, the police, the prosecutors and the judge can see it.
However, recently, the Governor of California has really combined with Propositions has really eased up on things related to theft-related offenses.
Neighborhood Justice Program
There is a program, and I've used it a lot in the San Fernando Valley, called the Neighborhood Justice Program and basically what it is, it allows a person who is a first-time offender who steals and the value of the merchandise that's stolen $500 or less to basically avoid even getting the case filed against them.
A lot of people say, well I want a dismissal, but the reality is it's even better if the prosecutors don't even file the case. Then there's nothing to dismiss and this Neighborhood Justice
Program is definitely the way to go. I recently spoke to one of the individuals who is in charge of it because I try to get my clients who qualify this program all the time.
He indicated that basically, for two months the person obviously has to comply with them. There is a meeting. They sit down and go over everything. They discuss the case. A lot of times there's an apology letter that's written by the person.
Sometimes they will make them do community service which has a small charge, but in reality, beyond the community service, this Neighborhood Justice Program – in order to get a theft crime not to be filed against you – is free.
So, you really want to get a theft crime attorney to get this together for you so you can avoid a conviction for a theft defense. Obviously, this will hurt you in the long run.
How To Get Into Neighborhood Justice Program To Avoid Conviction
A lot of times what I do, once I'm hired on a case, is I will send a letter to the prosecutors indicating I think my client should not be prosecuted for a theft crime. I will include character letters.
I will include anything related to school, a job and I just recently was called by someone in charge of the Neighborhood Justice Program – basically, one of the filing deputies for the City Attorney's office who typically prosecutes misdemeanors in Los Angeles, specifically theft-related offenses – referred the case to them and he basically was going over all the ins and outs of the program.
So, this is crucial to try to avoid a conviction because with a theft crime conviction on your record it is extremely difficult to get a job and to be successful in the future.
So, there's more than one way to get a dismissal when it comes to a theft-related offense in the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, but this Neighborhood Justice Program is certainly a good one and it can be applied to by first-time offenders and I've had a lot of success with these types of programs.
There used to be another program called the APS Program. It got the same result – no filing. So, this Neighborhood Justice Program in the San Fernando Valley is something that should be utilized. If you've got a theft-related offense and you need help, give me a call. We'll sit down, we'll go over everything.
We'll get everything together and I will do everything I can to help you get into this Neighborhood Justice Program or get some sort of a result that ends up with the case being dismissed and your record protected.
A lot of times what we're doing in these cases is damage control. So, make the call now and I will take care of your theft-related offense.
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