Misdemeanor and Felony Theft Charges – Can Petty Theft Be a Felony?

Experienced attorney handles your case with skill and dedication

If you have been arrested for shoplifting or some other misdemeanor theft, you undoubtedly are worried about how a criminal conviction could affect your employment or education. In addition to fines, you can face up to a year in jail. At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we know how these charges affect your life, so we are prepared to apply the knowledge and experience we’ve acquired during the past decade to defend you.

In California, a petty theft charge is almost always a misdemeanor. However, depending on the circumstances of the crime, and if you have three prior convictions of petty theft, you could be charged with a felony.

Potential enhancements

For petty theft charges, potential enhancements include:

  • Three or more qualifying convictions of petty theft
  • You are a person required to register as a sex offender
  • Prior serious violent felony conviction
  • The crime is against an elder or dependent adult

Petty theft is one of those charges that includes provisions within the California Penal Code that can allow them to be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor. This is sometimes referred to as a “wobbler” because depending on the circumstances of the crime and whether or not the defendant has a criminal record, they could go either way. The District Attorney determines how you will be charged, but your criminal defense lawyer can find a way to reduce a felony conviction down to a misdemeanor.

What is an infraction?

If the value of the item taken is less than $50, or if it was your first offense, you could be charged with an infraction, which carries a fine of $250. The good news about an infraction is that there is no possibility of jail time and it does not go on your criminal record.

Regardless of the criminal charges you might be facing, a skilled, knowledgeable attorney from the Law Office of Arash Hashemi can defend your rights and get you through the justice system while doing whatever possible to preserve your freedom and reputation.

Well-respected California criminal defense firm

We at the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi have fought zealously for California residents for more than 12 years. If you or a loved one is arrested for a theft crime, contact us today. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us online or by phone at (310) 894-8548. Our office is in Los Angeles in the Westside Towers, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Westwood. We have flexible office hours.