In California, theft crimes have different classifications and penalties. One aspect of classifying robbery is the amount stolen to determine whether a crime is petty or grand theft. However, just because someone is accused of stealing a small value of goods does not automatically mean that the crime is a misdemeanor. Some petty theft cases are felonies. Find out more about what theft crimes are and if you can get charged with a felony from them.
What Is Petty Theft in California?
In California, petty robbery falls under penal code 488. This portion of the code classifies theft that isn’t grand theft, stealing goods worth more than $950, is petty theft. However, for theft of firearms, the charge, regardless of the value of goods stolen, is grand theft. Punishment for petty theft is typically a fine of no more than $1000, six months in county jail, or both when charged as a misdemeanor.
Some examples of petty theft can include switching price tags to pay a lower price at a store, purposefully keeping materials borrowed from a public library, and stealing goods from an employer.
When Is Theft a Felony?
Under most situations, petty theft generally is a misdemeanor charge. However, there are instances when prosecutors may opt to upgrade the charge to a felony. For instance, if you have had a prior conviction, petty theft could become a felony charge. When classified as a felony, the punishment increases to up to three years in state prison.
Regardless of whether a theft crime is a misdemeanor or felony, a conviction could put citizenship in jeopardy for those in the United States on Green Cards.
What Determines If a Petty Theft Is a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Determinants of whether a crime qualifies as petty or grand robbery include the type of goods stolen, their value, and any previous record the accused has. For instance, if you have been convicted of this crime before, you may have the charges upgraded to a felony. Or, if a firearm was stolen the charge becomes a felony.
Getting expert legal advice from a qualified Californian theft lawyer can help you to navigate the specifics of your case, charges, and what the best defense is.
Get Help With Your Petty Theft Case from The Law Office of Steven K. Bloom
If you have a charge of theft, don’t risk your freedom to a conviction. Every case is different, which is why you deserve to have someone on your side who will take the time to fully learn about your case and offer you sound legal advice and defense. You need Steven K. Bloom. He has served Orange County for decades by helping people with theft charges and others get the legal aid they deserve. Contact The Law Office of Steven K. Bloom for a free consultation on your case.