Petty theft is the theft of goods, services, merchandise or personal property valued at $950 or less and shoplifting generally refers to merchandise taken from a merchant's premises. Shoplifting can also be grand theft if the value exceeds $950 in merchandise.
Petty theft and shoplifting are punished the same as misdemeanors. California Penal Code (PC) 484/488 defines petty theft and PC 487 defines grand theft. Petty theft is punishable by up to 6 months jail and $1000 fine, while grand theft can carry up to a 3 year prison commit and $10,000 fine as its maximum. The law concerning petty thefts has undergone a big change over the last several years. It is no longer priorable which means a second or third petty theft etc. can no longer be punished as a felony. Prior petty thefts can still be considered by the Court in determining if and how much jail time may be appropriate on any subsequent offense.
Theft charges, even petty theft and shoplifting charges, can be very serious and have a significant impact on someone's future. It is a crime of moral turpitude, can prevent or terminate occupational licenses, affect employment, education, immigration and many other aspects off a person's life. There are things that can be done so it is important to contact an a criminal defense attorney if you are arrested or cited for a theft offense. Call Christoph Law Offices for a free initial consultation at 760-941-5720. We have been providing the highest level of personal and professional criminal defense representation for over 34 years across from Vista Courts.