Petty theft charges generally lead to fines and a short period of time in jail. However, individuals who are charged with petty theft may face harsher penalties based on their previous criminal record under California Penal Code Section 666: Petty Theft with a Prior.
Find out when petty theft with a prior charge applies in California with this article. The Simmrin Law Group can also help you review the penalties for a PC 666 conviction. You can even focus on legal defenses for petty theft with prior accusations right here.
Definition of Petty Theft Under Penal Code Section 666 in California
Individuals in the state of California may be prosecuted for petty theft if they steal something worth less than $950. There are many different ways to commit petty theft, including through:
- Acts of Fraud.
Petty theft is generally prosecuted under Penal Code Section 484(a) or 488. A basic petty theft conviction can lead to fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to six months.
Application of Petty Theft with a Prior Charge Under Penal Code 666
Now that we’ve reviewed the definition of petty theft, we can consider petty theft with a prior charge. The court system in California can utilize PC 666 charges – increasing the penalties for an act of petty theft – if an individual was previously convicted of either three prior theft crimes or a theft crime and a serious felony.
Note that individuals must actually be convicted and serve time for prior charges for PC 666 charges to apply. Previous accusations for theft crimes or felonies will not count if they did not result in convictions.
Prior Charges Tied to Petty Theft with Prior Accusations
Individuals should only be charged under PC 666 if they were previously convicted of specific criminal acts. The prior theft crimes that can lead to a petty theft charge with a prior conviction can include:
- Penal Code Section 211: Robbery.
- Penal Code Section 215: Carjacking.
- Penal Code Section 484: Petty Theft.
- Penal Code Section 487: Grand Theft.
- Penal Code Section 487(d)(1): Grand Theft Auto.
- Penal Code Section 459: Burglary.
- Penal Code Section 496(a): Receiving Stolen Property.
Violent felonies and any sex crime that requires an individual to register as a sex offender in California can also be applied to PC 666 charges.
Consider the Penalties for PC 666 Convictions
We reviewed the penalties for a basic petty theft conviction earlier. Petty theft with prior convictions is generally punished more harshly. In fact, PC 666 charges can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with convictions leading to:
- Misdemeanor PC 666 Charges: Up to One Year of Jail Time.
- Felony PC 666 Charges: Up to Three Years of Prison Time.
Individuals may also be required to pay fines to the court system if they are convicted of petty theft with a prior in California.
Think About How a Guilty Verdict for California PC 666 Will Affect Your Life
It is important to consider the collateral consequences of a conviction under California Penal Code Section 666. Even though petty theft may not be considered a severe crime, when you are found guilty of an offense, even a misdemeanor conviction can have a lasting impact on your life. This will remain on your record indefinitely unless you move forward with an expungement.
Furthermore, you may find yourself being passed over for job opportunities or housing when you need to consent to a background check. Not to mention the loss of firearm rights, federal student aid eligibility, and potential issues with citizenship and immigration if you were attempting to obtain U.S. citizenship or a green card. It is essential that you take steps to clear your name of the allegations against you if you hope to avoid the fallout.
Focus on Defenses for Petty Theft Under California PC 666 with Prior Charges
You do not have to try to take on PC 666 charges in California on your own. You can start getting professional help with your case by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right now. A legal professional could be able to protect you in court by working to show that:
You Did Not Serve Jail Time for Previous Criminal Charges
PC 666 charges should only apply if you previously spent time in jail following a criminal conviction. If your jail sentence was waived or otherwise set aside, you should not be convicted for petty theft with a prior in California.
You Didn’t Intentionally Steal Anything
You should only be charged with petty theft if you intentionally took an item worth under $950. If you accidentally took something that did not belong to you, you could avoid a conviction for petty theft or petty theft with a prior.
You Are Facing False Accusations for Petty Theft
Not all petty theft accusations are made in good faith in California. If you were falsely accused of taking something, you could get help from a legal professional. Let your lawyer dig into the facts of your case to build a strong defense for you.
A Lawyer Can Help You Handle Petty Theft with Prior Accusations
You can contact the Simmrin Law Group now for help with California Penal Code Section 666: Petty Theft with a Prior charge. Let our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles go over all of your legal options in this situation. Call or fill out our online contact form to get started today.
You can start building a defense for PC 666 charges with a free case evaluation.