What will happen if I was accused of petty theft in Ca.

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What will happen if I was accused of petty theft in Ca.

I was accused of shoplifting at the grocery store. I
had paid for my cart full of groceries but there was
some items that were in the front of the cart under
my purse that I forgot about and isnt pay for. The
amount was 70. I was arrested and given a citation
with Ca penal code 490 and have to appear in court.
I am terrified. Ive never been in trouble with the law.
What do I do? Do I need a lawyer? Will I go to jail?

Asked on May 19, 2019 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In CA, a theft charge of under $950 is a petty theft and is punishable in the county jail for up to 6 months and a maximum $1,000 fine. The consequences of such a conviction can have lasting impact. Since this offense involves moral turpitude conduct, it can carry negative consequences for people seeking/maintaining a professional license,on employment opportunities, rental housing, etc. That having been said, for a first offense you may be able to get something called "diversion". If granted, you will beed to pead guity but after the successful completion of your sentence (community service, fines, etc.), your plea is withdrawn and your criminal history record will be clear. It will be as though the offense never happened. That all having been said, Ppetty theft is characterized as a specific intent crime so your state of mind at the time of the act is crucial. You could have lacked the requisite intent by acting inadvertently or by mistake. For instance, as in your case, you placed an item in your bag and forgot to pay for it at the checkout counter. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local criminal law attorney in your area who can best advise you further.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In CA, a theft charge of under $950 is a petty theft and is punishable in the county jail for up to 6 months and a maximum $1,000 fine. The consequences of such a conviction can have lasting impact. Since this offense involves moral turpitude conduct, it can carry negative consequences for people seeking/maintaining a professional license,on employment opportunities, rental housing, etc. That having been said, for a first offense you may be able to get something called "diversion". If granted, you will beed to pead guity but after the successful completion of your sentence (community service, fines, etc.), your plea is withdrawn and your criminal history record will be clear. It will be as though the offense never happened. That all having been said, Ppetty theft is characterized as a specific intent crime so your state of mind at the time of the act is crucial. You could have lacked the requisite intent by acting inadvertently or by mistake. For instance, as in your case, you placed an item in your bag and forgot to pay for it at the checkout counter. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local criminal law attorney in your area who can best advise you further.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption