In an earlier article i discussed the law of Petty theft in Fresno Ca. I would like to expand on that article a bit because I think there could be some complexities to the law.
If you ar arrested for Petty Theft in Fresno Ca, or in a surrounding area, it is essential that you get legal help as quickly as possible to understand your legal rights.
As a Former Probation Officer Deputy District Attorney, and Adjunct Criminology Instructor and an Attorney with nearly 14 years of experience I know the ins and outs of the system.
First, as stated above Petty Theft can be complex more complex than it might seem at first. Also, the stakes are high for your future employment rights. Many employers are wary of hiring anyone with theft related offenses. Also, Petty theft is considered a crime of moral turpitude wich could affect licensing with state agencies, or employement in Peace Officer positions.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM CHARGED WITH PETTY THEFT
One of the first factors we look at is what is the total amount of the theft. If the allgeged theft is for less than $50.00 than your case could possibly be handled as an infraction under penal code section 490.1A which would be a very good outcome. An infraction is not a criminal offense and is akin to a speeding ticket. This means that even if you were arrested for a Misdameanor you could say that you were not concvicted of a Misdameanor Theft charge. You could be subject to fines but not jail time.
For a first time Petty theft offender you are eligible for Diversion; however, there is two types of diversion programs pre-plea and post plea.
PRE PLEA DIVERSION PROGRAM
in a pre ple diversion program you would be eligible to have your case dismissed without having to enter a plea and your case would be dismissed. You would have to attend a Petty theft diversion program. On a application you could say that you were not convicted of a Theft offense.
POST PLEA DIVERSION PROGRAM
The post plea diversion program means you would have to enter a plea and then if you complete certain conditiions such as obey all laws etc you would have your case dismissed. This means you would have to admit to having been convicted of a Theft related offense. You could say the case was later dismissed.
Some courts and Deputy District Attorneys have been reluctant to give pre-plea diversions out in new cases. This if unortunate because if you have led a law abiding life up until the time of the theft arrest you would still have a theft conviction on your record. Contrary to information that some Attorneys have told there clients there is no law stating that the DA must give you a diversion program. The only time the DA must give you a Diversion program is for state mandated programs such as PC 1000 the drug diversion program that was created and mandated by the state. Research has indicated local programs created by local authorities and not mandated by the legislature are not the same and are not mandatory by the District Attorney or the Courts. Many Attorneys most of them new do not understand this distinction and often give out erreneous advice based upon the belief that local theft diversion programs for pre-plea diversion are mandatory.
Many Misdameanor Deputy District Attorneys do not understand this distinction and sometimes give out pre plea diversion and others do not
CIVIL FINE FOR THEFT
There is also a civil fine for theft. This means that you may get a letter stating you must pay a civil fine. I tell my clients to pay such fines. usually someoen that is paid is less likely to show up to court and will not cooperate with the District Attorney’s office if the case goes to trial.
If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to call us 5594411418.