There are several charges used to prosecute acts of theft in Los Angeles, including:
- California Penal Code Sections 484(a) and 488: Petty Theft
- California Penal Code Section 487: Grand Theft
- California Penal Code Section 211: Robbery
- California Penal Code Section 459: Burglary
PC 484(a) and 488 cover petty theft, which is one of the less severe charges used in California. However, petty theft is still treated as a misdemeanor, and a conviction can lead to severe penalties. Find out more about the risks associated with a petty theft charge from the Simmrin Law Group.
Understanding the Definition of Petty Theft
Petty theft occurs if someone indirectly steals something worth less than $950. Individuals must take items without their owner’s consent and while intending to keep the stolen goods to be convicted of petty theft.
There are other offenses that are sometimes charged like petty theft in the Los Angeles court system. Individuals could be charged with:
- Theft by Embezzlement
- Theft by Trick
- Theft by False Pretense
- Theft by Shoplifting
- Theft by Fraud
Any of these charges can have serious impacts on your future.
Exceptions to Petty Theft Charges in Los Angeles
The basic definition of petty theft appears very straightforward. However, there are actually several large exceptions that can make it difficult to grasp PC 484(a) and 488 fully. For example, individuals will face more serious charges if they steal:
- Motor Vehicles
- Agricultural Products
Stealing any of these items can increase your charge to PC 487: Grand Theft. Additionally, individuals who take from another person using force or threats may be charged with PC 211: Robbery. All of these charges come with different penalties, so it is essential to understand the exact charges you are facing.
Petty Theft Examples in California
There are a wide range of actions that can be charged under PC 484(a) and 488. Examples of petty theft could include:
Person A enters a store and fills a cart with purchases. The person also stashes a few small items in their pockets. While the person pays for most of their purchases, they walk out the door without paying for the things they have hidden.
Person B is visiting a family member during the holiday season. During the course of the visit, Person B discovers a beautiful necklace in the guest bedroom. They decide to tuck the necklace into their suitcase and take it with them when they leave.
Penalties for a Petty Theft Conviction
Individuals who are convicted of petty theft in Los Angeles can be charged with a misdemeanor. You may end up facing severe repercussions, including:
- Up to $1,000 in Fines
- Up to 6 Months of Time in Jail
Note that a first-time offender may be offered the opportunity to enter a diversion program instead of facing a criminal conviction. However, individuals with a previous conviction for petty theft may face harsher penalties. A prior conviction can allow petty theft to be charged as a felony, instead of a misdemeanor. A felony conviction for felony theft means you could face 3 years of time in prison.
Petty Theft Charges and Possible Defenses
Beating a petty theft charge can be incredibly difficult. However, individuals who work with professional criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles will have a better chance of favorably resolving these charges. A lawyer may be able to prove:
You Were Wrongfully Accused
Many individuals are wrongfully accused of petty theft every year. You can get help defending yourself from wrongful charges today.
You Mistakenly Took Something
Mistakes happen. Individuals can grab something by accident and walk away with it without intending to steal anything from anyone.
You Were Given Permission to Take Something
Individuals should not be charged with petty theft if they only took something with the owner’s permission.
Defending Against Petty Theft Charges in Los Angeles
Beating a charge under California Penal Code Section 484(a) & 488: Petty Theft can be difficult if you don’t have professional help. The Simmrin Law Group can go over the charges against you right now with a FREE case evaluation.
Get additional information about petty theft by calling (310) 997- 4688 or completing our online contact form.