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Los Angeles Petty Theft Lawyers

Penal Code 484, Petty Theft and How We Can Help

Penal Code 484 is a California statute that is used to charge individuals with the crime of petty theft. If you have been charged with this crime, you should be aware of what the law says as well as your rights as the accused.

What Does Penal Code 484 Illegalize as Petty Theft?

According to 484 (1) of California’s penal code, a petty theft is any theft of property that is less than $950 in value that has denied the owner of the ability to enjoy or benefit from that specific property. There are certain exceptions to this general rule. Certain kinds of property that could be less than $950 in value and would be classified as a more serious kind of theft if stolen include guns, vehicles and livestock. The theft of this property constitutes separate crimes under the California penal code.

A specific element of petty theft in California is that the owner of the property is derived of the ability to enjoy it or benefit from it while it is stolen. In this case, even if the property is returned, a petty theft still occurred. An example of this, for example, could be a person taking a bicycle from a store and then returning it later. While the store owner may have the bike back, he or she was derived of the ability to sell that bike and profit from it during that period.

What Are the Penalties of Petty Theft Under Penal Code 484?

This kind of theft is classified as a misdemeanor under California law. If convicted, a person could face up to half a year in a county jail, a $1,000 fine and probation.
In this case, it would be informal probation. Informal probation is a form of probation that does not require direct supervision. A person is simply expected to complete the terms of the probation and report having done so at a hearing set at a certain date. Probation also usually comes with the maximum jail sentence being suspended as long as the terms of the probation are adhered to.

Despite the fact that a person could spend six months in jail, this usually does not occur. Petty theft is not considered a very serious crime in California. Multiple convictions, however, will insure harsher punishments from judges. In that case, the theft may even be classified as a felony.

How Can Our Law Firm Help?

Despite the fact that petty theft under Penal Code 484 is not treated the same as other crimes that are considered more serious in California, it does pose the possibility of serious penalties including jail time. This is why having proper legal representation from attorneys experienced in this part of the criminal code is extremely important.

There are a number of good strategies that can be used to defend the accused in court. If it can, for example, be proven that the defendant did not intend to steal the property in question, he or she could be acquitted of all charges.