As with any type of theft, the intent to permanently take the property is key. If the prosecution cannot show that you took the property of another intentionally and with the belief that the property belonged to another, then the intent requirement of this crime does not exist.
Petty theft is the wrongful taking of the property of another under a certain dollar value. Different states have different dollar amounts that are considered petty theft. For example, in Nevada and Arizona, any theft of property valued at under $500 is petty theft. In California, theft of property having a value of up to $950 is considered petty theft.
Petty theft can take a number of different forms. It is most commonly based on physically taking the property of another, which is also called larceny. This includes shoplifting. Petty theft can also be based on tricking another by misrepresenting the nature or price of goods in a transaction. Embezzlement is theft of goods that were entrusted to the defendant by another.
In California, petty theft can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to six months. If it is your first offense, imprisonment is very unlikely. Petty theft is a misdemeanor and goes on your permanent criminal record. This can be exceedingly unfortunate in the case of a first offense based on a temporary lack of judgment, because a theft charge has a negative impact on your reputation and it can obstruct your ability to get hired or promoted. The prosecution has the option to charge a petty theft as an infraction, which is a lesser charge and is not a criminal offense. A skilled criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference in how your case is resolved.
An experienced Los Angeles County petty theft defense attorney will help defend you against these charges. Richard J. Beada Attorney at Law has over 30 years of experience defending people charged with theft and similar crimes. We believe that a temporary lapse in judgment should not become a permanent mark against you. We will explain to you all of your options and work as an aggressive advocate on your behalf. Call us today at (310) 393-7536 for a free confidential consultation.