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Petit Theft


Although petit theft is viewed by many to be a less serious charge compared to other crimes—Grand Theft—it shouldn’t be taken lightly. All levels of theft can have a significant influence on your future, and is particularly serious because it is considered a crime of moral turpitude or a crime of dishonesty. A theft conviction will create a permanent criminal record. Preserving your reputation in society is critical, as it can have negative implications to your future aspirations and overall way of life.


Aside from the impact a petit theft conviction can have on your reputation, it also carries severe penalties. If the value of the property taken was less than $100, it’s considered a second degree misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to 60-days imprisonment, six months of probation, up to a $500 fine, among other penalties. Petit theft can be upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor if you have a prior theft conviction or if the value of the property taken was $100 or more but less than $300.



Below are some common defenses to a petit theft charge:



  • The defendant had an honest, good faith belief that he or she had the right to possess the victim’s property
  • Poor quality surveillance footage creating doubt as to the identity of the suspect
  • The accused mistakenly left the establishment with the unpaid items
  • The accused left the store with items unknowingly under their shopping cart
  • Mistaken accusations
  • The suspect was set up by a co-defendant
  • The accused momentarily deprived the owner of the property
  • The accused left the store with the unpaid items—not with the intent to steal—but with the intent to retrieve a wallet or money.
  • The property didn’t have value
  • Voluntary abandonment
  • Both the suspect and the victim had equal ownership to the property. 

Grand Theft—First Degree Felony 

  • Grand Theft becomes a first degree felony if the value of the property taken was $100,000 or more; if the property taken was a semitrailer that was deployed by law enforcement; if the property stolen was shipping cargo valued at $50,000 or more. The penalties related to First Degree Grand Theft are severe, and may include up to 30 years in prison, up to 30 years of probation, up to a $10,000 fine, among other penalties.
  • Grand Theft is a highly defendable offense if you have the right defense team by your side. Below are some defenses to a Grand Theft charge:
  • The accused had consent from the owner to take the property
  • The suspect lacked the requisite intent
  • The suspect had a good faith belief that they had an ownership or possessory interest in the property
  • The accused used the property for a lawful purpose
  • The property taken had no value
  • The suspect was merely at the scene of the crime
  • Necessity
  • Duress
  • Voluntary abandonment

If you have any further questions or want to set up a free consultation, fill out the contact form above.

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