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Vista Petty Theft Defense Lawyers

Facing Petty Theft Charges in Vista?

In recent years, California has worked to lessen its penalties for non-violent offenses, but make no mistake: local Vista courts can still impose harsh punishments on anyone convicted of a crime, no matter how minor it appears. Theft is the most common criminal charge in San Diego County, meaning prosecutors are flooded with these low-level cases. This may drive them to push for hefty fines and long jail sentences to discourage repeat offenders.

If you or someone you love was charged with petty theft, you should work with a dedicated criminal defense lawyer. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our lead Vista petty theft defense attorney is a certified criminal law specialist, and a former LAPD investigator with extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system. He can go over the details of your case in a free initial consultation and explain how to get your charges reduced or dropped. Do not wait. Call us at (760) 630-2000 today.

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Understanding a Petty Theft Charge

The state of California divides theft crimes into either petty or grand theft. The major difference is the value of the stolen property. All thefts involving property worth less than $950 are considered petty theft, which is a misdemeanor. In addition, if your crime involved property worth less than $50, it can be considered an infraction.

To convict you for petty theft, the district attorney must prove that you:

  • Took another person’s property (worth less than $950) for a period of time;
  • Knew that you did not have the owner’s consent or permission to take the property;
  • Did not intend to return the property to the owner.

One common petty theft crime is shoplifting, but petty theft can also include taking a friend’s cellphone, stealing clothing from a roommate, or taking your neighbor’s construction tools. Even if you return the property after your arrest, the prosecutor may still charge you under California Penal Code 488. While this is the lesser of California’s two theft crimes, it can still lead to serious consequences.

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Penalties for Petty Theft in Vista

Petty theft is treated as an infraction or misdemeanor depending on the value of the stolen property. For property worth less than $50, it is an infraction, which may include a light fine and restitution to the victim. For property between $50 and $949, it is charged as a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor petty theft charges can result in:

  • Up to one year in a San Diego County jail;
  • A fine of up to $1,000;
  • Restitution to the victim;
  • Misdemeanor probation.

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Defenses Against Theft Charges

No matter what charges you are facing, you should contact a diligent and dedicated Vista theft defense lawyer at once. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our legal team can investigate the case against you, review the circumstances of your arrest, and fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed. In our experience, a strong defense strategy can involve proving that:

  • You did not knowingly take someone else’s property.
  • You did not intend to keep the property.
  • You believed you rightfully owned the property.
  • The owner let you borrow the property or keep it based on an agreement.
  • The police performed an illegal search and seizure.
  • The police committed misconduct during your arrest.
  • The San Diego County District Attorney does not have enough evidence to convict you.

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Contact jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we believe in giving every client a strong defense after an arrest. We know exactly how harsh the local courts can be on criminal defendants, even if it is their first offense. By working with our lead Vista defense lawyer, you will get the experience of a renowned legal expert. Attorney James N. Dicks knows exactly how the prosecution thinks and will prepare a strong defense on your behalf.

If you or someone you love was arrested for petty theft in Vista, contact us immediately to get a free case evaluation. We can sit down with you to explain all of your options, and we have Spanish-speaking staff and attorneys. With our more than 30 years of experience successfully defending clients, you can trust that your case is in good hands. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to get started on your defense.

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James N. Dicks

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