Taking the neighbor’s bike, lifting a shirt from a friend’s house because you love it, maybe even grabbing a couple of candy bars and a drink from the corner store without paying for them seems fairly innocent. There are many people who think that these actions are not that big of a deal. Taking something here and there without permission or without paying, in reality, is not the most heinous of crimes. Despite this, it still is illegal. In the state of California, if you are arrested for stealing property that is valued at $950 and less, you have committed petty theft. Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense and the maximum jail time you will serve is six months if convicted.
The penalties will increase considerably for some people who are charged with petty theft. Anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes will face a sentence enhancement for their unlawful actions. A person who has a criminal record with qualifying crimes should not take petty theft charges lightly. If you were arrested and charged with petty larceny with a prior in San Diego, you are not out of options when it comes to defending yourself, however. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can discuss your case with you and determine what defense strategy is best suited to protect your interests.
What Happens When You are Charged With Petty Theft With a Prior in California?
Under the California petty theft with a prior statute, the crime becomes a wobbler. That means that prosecutors reviewing your case will decide how harshly to charge you. In the best circumstances, you will be tried with a misdemeanor. Otherwise, it is going to be a felony. A felony charge carries a hefty punishment where a defendant’s jail term is substantially higher than if they did not have that prior. When your petty larceny with a prior in California is charged as a felony, you are at risk of being sentenced to as many as three years in jail.
If your criminal history includes a conviction of theft and you served time behind bars as a result of that theft conviction, if you were convicted of a violent crime, or convicted of a sex crime, expect much more severe punishment. When these situations have happened in your past and a petty theft takes place, the repercussions will increase. Protecting yourself from having to face bleak outcomes, a proper defense litigated skillfully is essential. For example, your San Diego theft defense attorney may argue:
- You are innocent and did not commit theft.
- Any criminal history you have doesn’t qualify for an enhanced sentence for your petty theft charge.
- Your charges are not valid because the individual accusing you of the crime is being untruthful.
Speak With a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Your Los Angeles theft crime attorney may be able to have your charges reduced, and that can help you tremendously. Ultimately, though, the goal is to have your case dismissed and your charges dropped. The California criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje will strongly advocate on your behalf so you see the best possible outcome. To schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of David M. Boertje, please call (619) 229-1870 for the San Diego office or (760) 476-0901 for the Carlsbad location.