What will be the consequences if I will be charged with PC 484 petty theft first offense in Los Angeles California?

Question: What will be the consequences if I will be charged with PC 484 petty theft first offense in Los Angeles California?  I was going to buy something then got sidetracked when my girlfriend called me.  She was in a panic over something and I talked to her for a while trying to calm her down.  After about 15 minutes I decided to just leave the store and go to her house…but must have put the thing I was holding from the store in my pocket without thinking about it.  I got stopped by a store worker and next thing you know I am getting escorted to a back room and having to sign all these papers.

I know I shouldn’t have been careless like that, but it was an honest mistake.  Now the rest of my life is going to be hurt by it?  I really don’t want this theft charge hanging over my head for the rest of my life.  Is there anything that can be done about it?

Answer: First, I would not advise giving any more specific details about what happened on my public website.  Calling me or setting up a meeting to talk privately is a better idea.  That being said, a lot depends on the circumstances of your case. What was taken, where it was taken from, what court your matter is in, etc.  One element of a petty theft charge is “intent”.  Does not seem like that intent is there, but it needs to be worked.  Not surprisingly, prosecutors don’t automatically dismiss petty theft charges based solely on the defendant saying they didn’t mean to take the item.  I have been successful in getting petty theft charges dismissed in courts across southern California.  There are several ways to try to get that done depending on the particular situation of the case.

If convicted of a Penal Code 484 petty theft charge as a misdemeanor, you are looking at probation, fines, and by statute jail is possible.  If you have prior theft convictions or on probation for another misdemeanor or felony, it increases the chances of higher penalties.

Call me at 818-336-1384 to discuss your case in further detail.

Phil Hache

DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney
Handling DUI and Criminal matters throughout Courts in Southern California including Van Nuys, San Fernando, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Metro, Bellflower, Alhambra, Malibu, Compton, Inglewood and other Courts.
Office in Sherman Oaks