We remain open and steadfast in our commitment to helping our clients during these difficult days.

Proven Approach With Results Forged Through Experience

Image of attorney Mark L. Deniz

What are your options if facing a petty theft charge?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2021 | Diversion, Theft |

Petty theft is a crime for which well-intentioned people are often wrongly accused. You may have legitimately thought you had the owner’s permission to take a particular item. You could receive a gift that was stolen and not even realize it. Or you could be shopping in a department store when you suddenly receive an emergency call from a family member. As you hastily rush for the door, you forget that you’re still carrying a piece of store merchandise.

Honest mistakes like this happen all the time, and it doesn’t mean you deserve to live with a criminal record for the rest of your life.

What is petty theft?

Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense. It refers to stealing property with a value of $950 or less. If convicted of this crime, you could face:

  • Six months in jail
  • Probation
  • Fines of up to $1,000

In addition, having such a conviction on your record could create major hurdles in obtaining employment down the road. Potential employers may be more prone to view a candidate as dishonest or untrustworthy if they have a theft conviction on their record.

Is diversion an option?

Fortunately, being charged with petty theft doesn’t automatically result in a conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explore other options on your behalf.

One option that is often available to defendants with misdemeanor charges is a diversion program. A diversion program is a form of pretrial sentencing in which you join a rehabilitation program, thereby avoiding conviction. The designated diversion program will vary depending on the case, but may include such things as:

  • Completing court-ordered community service
  • Completing a drug treatment program
  • Paying full restitution for the item that was stolen

Diversion is an option that is often available to first-time offenders for nonviolent, misdemeanor offenses. If you are facing petty theft – or other misdemeanor – charges, it’s worth consulting with an experienced defense attorney. They may be able to negotiate a diversion resolution for your case.

FindLaw Network