California Penal Code 484(a) is defined as petty theft. Anyone who steals someone else’s personal or business property that is worth up to $950 may be charged with petty theft. Individuals who commit this crime can be sentenced up to six months in jail, fined up to $1,000 and placed on informal probation.
What is Not Included in Penal Code 484(a)?
Petty theft is primarily for those who steal smaller items without the other’s knowledge. There are some instances in which this charge does not apply:
Other items such as livestock, firearms and cars do not fall under this category but are classified as grand theft. Any property that is taken personally from someone, commonly known as robbery, is also not covered by petty theft, but is also classified as grand theft.
First Time Offenders
First time offenders who commit petty theft are often given leniency during sentencing. A judge may reduce the fines, exclude jail time, and include community service an monetary retribution to the owner of the property.
In certain cases, however, judges may not be so lenient on offenders, regardless if they are first time offenders or repeat offenders. If you’ve been charged with petty theft, your best course of action is to hire a competent attorney.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
Penal Code 484 a is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. Even if you are a first time offender, you may have to face the full consequences allowable under California law. If you don’t want to face jail time, hiring a competent attorney is your best option.
Experienced California attorneys have extensive knowledge of petty theft laws and know the court system well. Many of the top attorneys in your area have spent time in government positions, including assistant District Attorneys or court appointed lawyers, which also gives them knowledge of specific judges and how they might determine sentencing in your case.
An attorney will be able to construct a defense that will put you in the best position to have the charges reduced or dropped altogether. They will carefully examine every piece of evidence to determine the best course of action.
While you may be eligible for a court-appointed attorney after being arrested, you won’t benefit from hiring one. They are often overworked and under paid, which means they won’t be totally dedicated to defending you in this type of situation.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with petty theft in California, contact an experienced and competent petty theft attorney today.