Featured News 2019 Do Petty Theft Charges Require a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Do Petty Theft Charges Require a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Petty theft is a charge that someone who has no criminal intent may receive. They could be distracted by their phone, or not realize they left items unpaid for in their shopping cart. In California, petty theft occurs when the value of stolen goods equates to $950 or less.

Criminal Charges for Petty Theft

Every state treats petty theft differently. In California, the most severe charge for petty theft is a misdemeanor. If the value of stolen good surpasses $950, the crime is charged as grand theft and is a felony.

In California, the highest possible charge for petty theft is a misdemeanor, though a financial theft value of over $950 can be considered grand theft and would be a felony. While some states like California only have two classifications of theft, there are also degrees of petty theft, with the first degree being the most serious charge. Also, petty charges can be broken down into several categories: an example of this could be seen in the number of how many times someone commits petty theft.

Multiple Offenses & When to Hire an Attorney

If a person receives charges for petty theft, they should immediately seek legal counsel, even if they are being charged with the crime for the first time. Even first-time offenses could inhibit a person from finding work in the future.

Those charged with petty theft will receive an order to appear in court. This date is an arraignment where the accused will hear their charges, provide a plea, and be asked if they have legal representation. If the accused cannot afford a private lawyer, they will have a public defender assigned to them free of charge. If a person wants to hire their own legal counsel, a court will typically give them a specific amount of time to do so. Obtaining an attorney before arraignment is crucial. If the prosecutor can prove that a person’s intent was to steal, they may receive more severe or additional criminal charges.

In fact, a court may charge someone with felony theft if they’ve been convicted of petty theft in the past. When this happens, employers may view a person as untrustworthy to hire, so obtaining legal representation is crucial for multiple offenses. For some instances, an attorney may be able to convince the judge to allow their client to compensate the other party for the value of the stolen goods in exchange for an expunged record. However, a person facing theft charges needs the help of an experienced attorney to receive

Should a Person Always Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney for Petty Charges?

While public defenders are a great option for someone who cannot afford legal representation, choosing an attorney may yield much more beneficial results. Hiring an attorney helps ensure that a case receives the attention it deserves and enables the accused to pick someone with experience with cases like theirs. Because misdemeanor petty theft charges have a potential to change the future of the accused, they should always consider hiring their own attorney.

To find a petty theft defense attorney near you, use our directory today!

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