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How to Defend Against Petty Theft Charges

by | Aug 20, 2018 | Uncategorized

According to state law, petty theft is the theft of another’s property valued at less than $950. Actions such as shoplifting or borrowing things without the intention of returning them are considered to be petty theft, and can result in serious consequences. Under California Penal Code Sections 484-502.9, petty theft can be charged for the following offenses:

  • Theft by trick, such as deceiving the owner of the property to give it to you
  • Theft by embezzlement, which is taking property from someone who entrusted it to you
  • Theft by false pretense, such as using a fake document to take an item
  • Theft by shoplifting

In most cases petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor offense in California, and sentencing can result in a maximum fine of $1,000, up to 6 months in jail, or both. There are multiple defenses that a person can use to fight allegations of petty theft and the harsh possible penalties. Possible defenses include:

  • Not intending to steal, could have been accidental
  • Being falsely accused
  • Having ownership of the object that was allegedly stolen
  • Having permission to take the item from the owner
  • Having the intention of just borrowing and later returning

While conviction for petty theft may not always result in jail time, it can have serious implications, because having a criminal record containing a theft conviction could make it very difficult to find employment. There are sentencing alternatives that your attorney can discuss with the prosecutor. Options such as diversion programs and community service can reduce or even clear petty theft charges, depending on the circumstances of the case.

A skilled criminal lawyer can help with your case and can seek to have your charges dropped, the penalties reduced, or your record cleared. If you or a loved one has been charged with petty theft, seek the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen to ensure your rights are protected. Contact our firm to discuss your case!


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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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Contact The Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen if you have been arrested and charged with a crime and need a skilled San Diego criminal defense lawyer. The firm represents clients throughout the community, and you can learn about their services by visiting the Areas We Serve page.

Office of Marc S. Kohnen
1350 Columbia Street, #700
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 398-2500

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