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Petty theft in Los Angeles occurs when someone steals something with a value of under $950 from another party. This could mean stealing from a retail store, stealing something you were supposed to watch over or taking items from an employer. Petty theft is a misdemeanor charge that can result in jail time and large fines. It is important to understand why you need an attorney when facing petty theft charges in Los Angeles.
Question the Basis for the Charges
A lawyer is critical in petty theft cases because the professional can question the very basis of the charges. An attorney can work hard to show that you were never going to steal an item. A law firm might be able to prove that you actually owned the item or the charges are completely fraudulent. These types of defenses require detailed knowledge of the law in Los Angeles and California. An attorney will know how to legally prove these situations if true.
Look For Problems with Police Procedures
Being arrested for petty theft in Los Angeles means the police must follow specific procedures during the entire process. A Los Angeles attorney will look for any problems with police procedures during and after your arrest. Police might have done things improperly causing your rights to be violated. This could mean any evidence collected is not admissible in court. Your lawyer will know exactly what to look for when reviewing the details of police reports.
Protect Your Personal Rights
It is possible that an overly aggressive prosecutor will attempt to violate your personal rights. You might be subject to a series of motions meant to harass you. A prosecutor might use underhanded tactics to scare you into accepting a bad plea deal. You want to have a lawyer in Los Angeles by your side to ensure your rights are protected. Your attorney will do everything possible to defend your rights until the petty theft case is resolved in a fair way.
Keep You Out Of Jail
Although petty theft is considered a misdemeanor, you could still spend up to six months in jail for the crime if convicted. You want to hire an attorney to help keep you out of jail. Your lawyer will immediately attempt to negotiate with the prosecution. Those negotiations could result in greatly reduced charges that allow you to steer clear of jail time. An experienced law firm might even be able to negotiate something like community service or probation in lieu of jail time so that you can continue living your normal life.
Lower Your Fines
Anyone who is convicted of petty theft in Los Angeles could face up to a thousand dollar fine. That could become even larger if there are aggravating circumstances or punitive fees. You should have a lawyer defending you to help lower your fines. Your attorney could show that you cannot pay the full amount of the fines. A lawyer can sometimes convince a judge or prosecutor to dismiss the fines if you do not commit any crimes for a certain period of time. Attorneys are key for lowering any potential fines from petty theft cases.
Prevent Charges from Appearing On Your Permanent Record
Misdemeanor petty theft in Los Angeles will appear on your permanent record when applying for jobs or trying to get an apartment. The charges can make it much more difficult to live normally and advance in life. A knowledgeable attorney can attempt to prevent petty theft charges from appearing on your permanent record. This is done through a deferred entry of judgment. That means the charges will be dismissed if you finish a specific diversion program. You need the help of an attorney to have any hope of winning a deferred entry of judgment.