A violation of Penal Code Section 484, also known as a "Petty Theft,"
is a significant criminal offense for many reasons. First and foremost,
it can have far reaching consequences including jail time, probation and
In order to prove that a person is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The suspect took possession of property owned by someone else;
2. The suspect took the property without the owner's consent;
3. When the suspect took the property (he/she) intended to deprive the
owner of it permanently;
4. The suspect moved the property (even small distances will count) and
kept it for any period of time, however brief.
Intent to Deprive
The prosecution evaluation revolves around one key issues in these types
of cases- the suspect's intent. If a person actually believes that
he or she has a right to the property even if that belief is mistaken
or unreasonable, such belief is a defense to theft. Also, the courts have
held the defendant must intend to deprive the owner permanently.
Often cases like these turn on whether the Prosecution can prove beyond
a reasonable doubt that the individual suspected of theft intended to
take these items permanently. Some cases, such as shoplifting fall apart
when it becomes clear that the individual was confronted while still in
the store because the Prosecution cannot meet this burden.
Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft
For misdemeanor petty theft, the item taken can be of any value, however
slight. For instances where the value of the stolen item is greater than
$950, a felony charge of Grand Theft may be utilized to prosecute instead.
While the immediate consequences of a Petty Theft charges are potentially
devastating, there are long term potential consequences that also will
affect your life. Specifically, if the defendant is charged with petty
theft in the future and already has a prior conviction, the offense can
and likely will be charged as a felony.
Get Trusted Defense
There is nothing "petty" about a Petty Theft charge. At the Law
Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert, we confront any and all accusations against
our clients as if our reputation as a premiere Ventura County Criminal
Defense firm depends on their defense because we know it does.
If you, or a loved one, are facing criminal charges such as a Petty Theft,
do not wait. Consult now with an experienced Ventura County criminal defense
attorney. At the
Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert, we have decades of experience in criminal law. We know how cases are
investigated, how they are prosecuted and how they can be defended. Please
take this opportunity to give us a call at (805) 901-9119 for a FREE consultation
with an experienced Ventura theft attorney.