Should I Hire Theft Lawyer Redwood City CA Clients Trust for a Petty Theft Charge?
Petty theft is one category of a theft crime which is determined by the lower value of stolen property. Theft laws are divided into two separate categories by most states: petty theft and grand theft. If the property stolen is worth more than $400, it is classified as grand theft. For any thefts that are worth less than $400, it is considered as petty theft.
While petty theft may sound like the charge may be no big deal, you could be facing the legal consequences of a petty theft criminal charge. If you are being charged with a petty theft criminal charge, you may want to hire a theft lawyer. The professionals at Morales Law Firmhave over 25 years of experience in defending theft charges. Petty theft laws can vary between each jurisdiction so it is important to have someone on your side who understands the varying laws.
Petty theft most commonly is connected with shoplifting, which is when someone steals from a retail store. It also occurs when someone is at a location legally; if someone was illegally at a location and stole property, it would be considered a burglary charge instead of a petty theft charge.
Petty Theft Examples
Most commonly, petty theft, as stated above, is when a person steals something from a store by putting it in their purse or pocket. However, there are many different types of theft that can be considered as petty theft and it does not have to involve lifting property.
Some examples of petty theft are:
- Dine and dash: When someone eats food at a restaurant and leaves before paying
- Watch and dash: Watching a movie in a theater without paying for a ticket
- Eating in a store and not paying for the food
- Switching price tags on items so you are able to pay a lesser price
- Putting a higher-costing item into a lower-costing item’s box
It is important to note that some people might not believe some of these examples are theft. However, just because they do not know it is theft, does not make it legal. Ignorance of the law is not a defense in San Mateo County. Even if someone does not know they are committing a theft, they could still face criminal charges if they are caught.
Is Theft a Misdemeanor or a Felony in San Mateo County?
Theft could be considered a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the item stolen. Grand theft is a felony; it is still considered a felony for those who have never committed a grand theft previously. Petty theft is typically found as a misdemeanor for a first-time offender. For repeat offenders, petty theft could potentially result in felony charges. Felony charges and misdemeanors are very different, especially in terms of someone’s criminal record. Misdemeanors are much easier than felonies to erase from a criminal record. This becomes a factor when someone is applying for a job or to rent an apartment.
Is a Theft Lawyer in Redwood City, CA Needed at My Arraignment?
If charges have been made against you, an important and early part of the process that you need to understand is the arraignment. A common question many people have is whether theft lawyer Redwood, CA has to offer needs to be present at the arraignment. This and other questions will be answered below.
What Is an Arraignment?
You can think of the arraignment as your first court appearance. For the most part, this meeting takes care of administrative aspects of the court case, although a few other very important things also happen at the arraignment:
- Explain the charges
- Ask for a plea
- Set bail
- Set a court date
To ensure the defendant has no confusion over what the charges mean and what he or she is being charged for, all the charges are clearly explained. Next, the defendant is asked to make a plea. This is the most important part of the arraignment. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced immediately. If you plead not guilty, the court will continue to determine whether or not you really are guilty. In very rare cases, the defendant can plead no contest. This typically is only applicable if the defendant has no memory of the crime. Finally, the court date is set, as well as bail in criminal cases. If you pay bail, you can leave; otherwise you need to remain in a jail cell until your court date.
Is a Theft Lawyer Redwood, CA Provides Necessary?
Now the question is whether or not your Redwood, CA theft lawyer needs to be present at your arraignment. Technically, the answer is no. You are free to go to your arraignment alone, and you will be offered the chance to receive a public defender. If you plan to hire a private theft lawyer Redwood, CA residents trust, rather than a public defender, it is in your best interest to hire them as early as possible, which should be long before the arraignment. The biggest reason for this is that you do not know how much time will be between the arraignment and your court date. There may not be enough time to hire a theft lawyer and get him or her caught up on the case. Additionally, the longer your lawyer has to prepare, the higher your chances of having a successful case. Your Redwood, California theft lawyer should also advise you of your plea. If you want to be as safe as possible, the very first thing you should do when charges are made against you is to talk with a theft lawyer Redwood, CA men and women respect as soon as possible. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, there are many legal aid options to help you.
Make an Appointment with a Theft Lawyer Redwood City CA Residents Recommend
If you have been charged with petty theft, do not take this charge lightly. It could result in large fines and jail time. Despite the name of the charge, it is important to have someone on your side to help defend your rights. Each theft lawyer at Morales Law Firm can help inform you of theft defenses that could be available for your case. They will also know the criminal laws that would be applicable in San Mateo County and help explain the full process. Contact Morales Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.