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Petty theft is a Misdameanor in the state of California.  However there could be very harsh penalties associated with a Petty Theft conviction.  First the Petty theft conviction is priorable.  Meaning the penalties get more severe if you are convicted more than once. 

And Petty theft convictions could have adverse consequences for your Immigration status as Petty Theft is a crime of Moral Turpitude.  Many times Petty Theft will fall under a petty crimes exception for Immigration purposes. 

You should hire an Attorney for several reasons for a Petty Theft arrest.

1.  If you hire a private attorney you can in fresno county have what is referred to as a 977 appearance meaning you will not have to show up in court possibly saving you many hours of lost time in court.

2. We can negotiate with the Prosecutor for a diversion before entering a pleas.  This will save you from having this theft related offense on your record. 

3.  If the case goes to trial, or you think it will go to trial you should pay the civil assessment that the store will send you.  I have seen several cases where the store refused to come to court after a case was set for trial because they have already been paid. 

There are several other defenses to Petty Theft that are out there.  You should defenitely contact an Attorney regarding your legal rights and what you can do to help yourself. 

The max you could recieve as a result of a Petty Theft is 180 days in jail.  However, it is usually much less than that.  Even if you are not given a pre-plea diversion usually your case will be referred for diversion and if you complete the petty theft awareness class you case will be dismissed.  However, if this occurs after a plea or post plea than the offense will show on your record. 

However, after you have successfully completed probation, you could be eligible for an expungement of your record.  The expungement is only needed if you pleaded guilty and then completed the diversion program.  If you did diversion first, before plea or pre-plea, you do not need to go through the process of an expungement. 

If you have any questions do not hesitate to call.



If you have been cahrged with Robbery it is imperative that you recieve legal advice immediately. As a Criminal Defense Attorney with more than 13 years of experience in Criminal Law, and having represented many people charged with Robbery you are in the right place. 

Penal Code 211 California's Robbery Law punishes the crime of taking someones elses property from the person's body or immediate possession, when accomplished by force or fear.   This is a Felony offense punishable by two to nine years in the state prison. 

But were here  to help As a Former prosecutor, and probation officer, and Criminology Instructor with more than 13 years of experience in criminal defense I have the knowlege to defend you agains these type of charges. 

Below I will address the following

The Legal Definition of Robbery in California

Legal Defenses

Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

Related Offenses

If after reading this article you have any questions do not hesitate to call

The legal definition of Robbery in California

In order to be Convicted of Robbery, the Prosecutore must prove the following facts (otherwises known as elements of the crime):

1. You took property that did not belong to you

2. from another persons possession or immediate presence,

3. against that persons will

4. using force or threats

5. when you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or such an extended period of time that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.


Robbery is whats known as a continuing offense, which means that as long as each of these elements is satisfied before the crime is completed, there is no requirement that they occur in any specific order or at the same time.

And a Robbery is only completed once the "Robber" is caught.  or has reached a place of safety. 

on a similiar note, as long as each of these elements is met the value of the property stolen is irrelevent.  It can be of any value no matter how slight.  lets take a closer look at some of the elements

That you "took" the property

1. gaining possession of the alleged victims property and

2. carrying away

"Carrying away"

"Carrying away" requires at least some movement, no matter how slight, and even if you immediately return the property you took,  that fact does not negate the robbery.

Example during an attack, Shawn (who is outside the car) reaches into the car and grabs Carrie's purse.  He looks through it, decides not to take anything from it, and gives it back. 

Even though he gave the purse back almost immediately that fact that he moved the property slightly from the car is enough.


The alleged victim must actually or constructively possess the confiscated property in order for the offense to qualify as Penal Code 211 Robbery, he or she does not need to be the owner of the property, as long as he or she possesses the property. 

That means that the store employee or the or even a customer who is forced to give up his  property can qualify as a Robbery victim.


Immediate Presence

property in the "immiediate presence" of a person if it "is so whithin his reach, inspection, observation, or control, that he could if not overcome by violence or prevented by fear, retain possession of it.

This broad definition means that the object doesn't necesarily have to be on the victims person but just in an area where he or she could logically control the item. 

Example in people v. webster, the defendant was convicted of robbery when he forcefully took the victims car keys in order to take the victims car. Even though the car was a quarter of a mile away, the court upheld the "immediate presence" requirement since the victim had constructive possession (that is he held the keys) and it was within such a distance that he was logically connected to it and would have controlled it if he had been able to. 

Agains the Persons Will

"Against the person will" simply means without consent, if the force or fear (discussed below) were such that is leads to the alleged victim surrendering he money or othe property this surrender must be agains the persons will

that said you can actually rob a person even if that person doesn't actually  know tha property has been taken until after you flee.  As long as you do not affirmatively consent to the property being taken. 


When Sam arrives home, Rick (who broke in) is there, the two struggle while Sam tells Rick to leave.  Once Rick is gone Sam realizes that his girlfriends watch is missing.

Given these facts, the court stated that because Rick used force to take Sam's watch without permission even though Sam didn't know Rick took the watch until after he left Rick was still guilty of Robbery.


Legal Defenses to Property

If you didn't intend to take or keep the property but only did so after you used force or fear incidental to some other purpose you aren't guilty of Robbery. 


expample Ruben forces stephanie (who is wating at the bus stop) to get into his truck he drives off to a field and rapes her and drops her off.  when he leaves he has her purse in his car this is not robbery.  Because there is no reason to believe he intended to take her purse. 

No force or Fear

if you take someones elses property but do not use force or fear to accomplish this, you do not violate penal code 211.  You could be guilty of another theft offense. 

Claim of Right

if you rob someone but only because you have an honest belief tha the specific property you are taking rightfully belongs to you California's robbery law does not apply to you. As long as the belief that it is honest even if unreasonable. 

Mistaken Identity

Because robberies often involve people who wear masks or other items of clothing to shield there identity, innocent people are often falsely accused of this offense.    This could be the case for a number of reasons, the most common of which includes the fact that you happen to match a description of the actual perpetrator. 

height weight etc.


False accusation

Similiarly, somoene could falsely accuse you of Robbery for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps the actual perpatrator is trying to cover up his own culpability.   Maybe an angry or jelous spouse is  trying to gain control over you.  


Strike Offense

A Robbery is a strike offense, also it is considered a violent offense which means you will be required to spend 85 percent of your time in custody before being eligible for release. 



California prositution and solicitation laws can be complex and convictions for this offense could have consequences for you license, severe Immigration consequences as well as provide a basis for a moral turpitude violation.

As a Former, Probation Officer, Deputy District Attorney, and Adjunct Criminology Instructor, and a Criminal Defense Attorney for more than 13 years, I can help you through an arrest or a charge for this type of case do not hesitate to call if you have been arrested for this crime because the consequences can be very severe.

If you are in the process of getting your Green Card or in another Immigratio matter you should immediately tell your Attorney about even an arrest for this prostitution or solicitation.

Under Immigration law even a first offense of solicitation or prostitution can be severe, and delay your citzenship application.  Most time you will not be deported for prostitution on a first offense.  This is because Prostitution many times falls in the petty crimes exception even though prostitution is always considered a moral turpitude crime. 

On a second offense deportation is possible.  Please Immediately call an experienced Immigration Attorney if you are arrested for a prostitution offense.


If you work as a massage therapist a prostitution arrest will usually result in the immediate suspension of your license if you work in  a town or city that requires licensing through a state agency. 

If you do what is referred to as pre-plea diversion than your license will be re-instated after you complete your diversion class.

A diversion clas is usually a life skills class or a prostitution abatement class, usually lasting one day depending on the county and city in which you were arrested. 

A Post Plea dversion is very different, the post plea diversion has a very different outcome.  This is true for both licensing and Immigration, for licensing and Immigration a Post Plea diversion is considered a conviction.  Therefore, the temporary revocation of your license will become a two year permanent revcocation.  You can re-apply in two years.

Immigration does not recognize post plea diversions, and will count your plea as a moral turpitude violation having serious consequences for you Immigration status. 

Many times Attorneys will plea a client to Penal Code violation of disturbing the peace with an agreement for jail time just to avoid the serious consequences that a person faces for a conviction. 

If you are found not guilty by Jury or court trial the action against you on both you license and Immigration is stopped and you will not face those consequences. 


Typically there is often a lot of political and social pressure placed on law enforcement regarding prostitution.  Therefore Police will often expend a tremendous amount of resources on this problem.


1. overview of Penal Code section 647 b/ prostitution and solicitation of prostitution

Todays Calfornia Laws allow the police to arrest the

prostitute and

the John or person soliciting the prostitute

And other middlemen known a pimps who live of the proceeds of a prostitute. 

Undercover sting operations are a common way for officers to make a prostitution arrests.  Police monitor massage parlors, strip clubs, and the streets in order to bust prostitutes and or Johns.



In order to prove engagin in an act of prostitution, the prosecutor must prove that you

1. engaged in an act of prostitution

2. that you did so willfully

'prostitution means engaging in sexual intercourse or any lewd act with another person in exchange for money or other consideration.


a "lewd" act is defined as any act that involves touching the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either person by another person that is done with the specific intent to arouse or sexually gratify. 

"willfully means dilleberitely or on purpose.


In order to convict you of soliciting prostitution, the prosecutor must prove

1. solicited another person to engage in an act of prostitution

2. that you did so with the specific intent of engaging in an act of prostitution

Depending on the nature of the exchange and who initiated the interaction prosecutors could charge the offense against the prostitute or the customer.


"soliciting" means to lure entice or elicit.  however, simply soliciting another person without more is insufficient to uphold a conviction for soicitation of prostitution. 

solicitation calls for specific intent of engaging in an act of prostitution typically evidenced by an offer to pay money or other compensation for sex.  not by a simple hand gesture or way of dress.  This is important because a mere gesture or short skirt is not enough even if in a high prostitution area. 



In order for you to be convicted of engaging in an act of prostitution, the prosecutor must prove

1. that you agreed to an act of prostitution

2. that you did so with the specific intent of engaging in an act of prostitution,


3. that in addition to the agreement, you performed an act in furtherance of prostitution


It is not enough to agree to do an act of prostitution you must do an act in furtherance.

It does not matter what the act is, as long as it clarrifies or corroborates the fact that an act or agreement was reached.  It is important to note that this act can take place before, during, or after the agreement.  When the act takes place is important that the act actually took place. 

Another noteworthy point is that " the act in furtherance" must be clearly stated in the formal written charge against you (otherwise known as the complaint) if it isnt it is a due process violation and could result in the dismissal of the charges against you. 

It should be noted that possession of condoms

large amounts of money

possession of "client book" and or

your attire

may all reveal evidence that you are guilty of one of the above offenses.  However, none of these "evidentiary items " themselves prove the charge by themselves. 

Penalties punishment, and sentencing

read above for some of the consequences.  First, a conviciton of prostitution charge is a Misdamenor punishable by up to six months in jail. In Fresno County first time offenders are usually offered post  plea diversion and a dismissal. 

If you were committed the offesne while using a car, and 2. within 1,000 feet of a residence you could face the towing of your vehicle and revocation for up to 30 days. and a restricted license for up to six months. 


Like the crime of statutory rape, prostitution crimes are discretionary meaning it is up to the court to decide if the offender will have to register as a sex offender.

Usually the Judge will only order this registration if he finds you have a sexual compulsion or as a reapeat offender. 


1. Entrapment many times these decoy officers lure othewise law abiding citzens to commit crimes of solicitation or prostitution

2. lack of credible evidence in many "sting operation" in massage parlors the police will send in a informant to ask the women to perform and act of prositittion many times with no words being said. and only hand signals then when the women supposedly agrees the officers do a bust signal and the women is arrested.

this is entrapment

lack of credible evidence because it is a he said she said with no creidible evidence the women ever agreed to anything.  Many times I have represented women who said the informant was aggressive and made several statements and she said nothing.  the hidden mike also never picks up the women saying a word. unfortunately many times the women are to scared to testify in court and take plea agreements based upon there fear of law enforcement. 

3. lack of evidence

many times the cases are he said she said with noting picked up on the mike


many times the massage parlor workers do not speak english and there may be cultaral or other mistakes leading to the arrest of these often times scared women.


If you have been arrested for a prostitution related offense please do not hesitate to call.



California had its primary election on June 7, 2016. As always, California officials were working to ensure there was no voter fraud in California.

If you have a warrant out for your arrest you can give us a call right away so that we can help you out.  As a Former Probation Officer, Deputy District Attorney, and Criminal Defense Attorney for more than 13 years I have the experience to help you.

First, Even if you have  a Warrant you should call us next you should see a Bail Bondsman. 

The Bail Bondsman can look up what the Warrant is for and provide you with a bond so that you don't have to go to Jail because you have technically alread been bailed out.

As long as more charges arent added, or different more serious charges are not added you should be fine. 

You will be given a court date by the Bail Bondsman usually 10 days from the time of the bond.


Many times peopl are arrested without there being a warrant for there arrest.  If this occurs the arresting agency cannot bond you out.  Typically the arresting agency will arrest and book you and fingerprint you and attempt to interview regarding the crime.


It is always best to speak with An Attorney before making any type of statement. 

You will be then transported to the County Jail and booked and given a bail amount based upon the charges at the time of booking.

You can then call a bail bondsman and arrange bail based upon the schedule.

Now one important thing that you should know  is that the District Attorney and the District Attorney alone, makes the decision on what charges you will be charged with. So in short you can be arrested for one set of charges and at your first court appearance (arraignment) you can a bunch of different charges based upon what the prosecution feels they can prove.

This can drastically change your bail amount. Many times bail bondsman do not charge bail amount for enhancements such as Gang Enhancements that are brought by the District Attorney; therefore, you bail could go up by many hundreds of thousands of Dollars based upon the different charges.


Therefore, you should call an Attorney to help you with this process if you find you have a warrant out for your arrest.


I have personally tried more than 10 sex crimes cases in three different counties.  In addition, I have handles almost fifty other sex crimes cases in more than 13 years of criminal defense experience if you have been arrested for a sex crimes case do not hesitate to call today. 

There are seval different types of cases that fall under sex crimes cases.

Penal Code section 262 PC "spousal rape"

Date Rape

Penal Code section 261.5 "statutory rape"

"Oral copulation by force"

Penal Code section 289 "Forcible Penetration with a Foreign Object"

The punishment penalties, and stigma of a Sex Crimes conviction can be severe

However rape cases involve a number of evidentiary issues both emotional and physical.

A skilled and experienced Attorney is needed to investigate and possilble obtain the best expert witnesses.

Below I will discuss several issues as to Rape cases.

1. Overview of Rape Law

2. How does the prosecutor prove that I am guilty of Rape

3. The penalties and punishments for Rape.

4. How do I fight a California Rape Charge

5. Rape and related offenses.

1. Overview of California Rape Law

As per Penal Code section 261 Pc rape occurs when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with another person when the sexual act is accomplished 1. Against tha persons will 2. without that person's consent and by means of



duress duress can be an express or implied threat  which would coerce a reasonable person to perform an act which he or she would not otherwise have performed/ or

2. Agree to an act which he or she otherwise would not have submitted. Convincing an alleged victim that he or she will be arrested, incarcerated, or deported, for example.

Fear of Bodily Harm to oneself is or to another (that the alleged victim's fear must be actual and reasonable under the circumstances. 

Also, if the alleged victim

1. To intoxicated to consent to the activity

2. Unable to give consent due to a mental disorder or physical disability which the accused knows or reasonably should know about, or

3. Unconscious about the nature of the act (either because he/she is asleep, unconscious, or fraudently induced into having sexual intecourse and the accused know or reasonably should know that this is the case.


2. How does the prosecutor Prove that I am guilty of Rape

in order to prove that you are guilty of Rape the prosecutor must prove four facts

1. That you engaged in sexual intercourse with another person (any penetration will suffice, regardless of how slight). 

2. That you were not married to the other person ( that is a seperate crime known as spousal rape)

3. That the intercourse was against the will of the other person

4. That you accomplished the act by one of the means above.

It is the third element that raises the most issues so we will look at that.


Agains the will and consent

Simply put against the will and consent. means without the other persons consent.  but what is meant by consent.

Consent means positive cooperation in an act or attitude as an excercise of free will.  A person who "consents to sexual intercourse does not freely and voluntarily with knowlege of the true nature of the sexual act.  There are three important things to consider in understanding consent

1. The fact that the alleged victim are or where in a dating relationship does not in-and of-itself constitute consent without the alleged additional evidence of consent.

2. The fact that the alleged victim asked you to use a condom does not in and of itself constitute consent

3. The fact that the alleged victim initially consented to and participated in the sexual intercourse does not in and of itself prove consent.

Resistance is not an element of Rape

The prosecutor does not need to prove that the alleged victim tried to resist in order to prevail at trial. 

Under the old rape law if a women froze during an attack then the defendant would be found not guilty because there was not sufficient resistence.

However, that is not the law today.

California Rape law applies to both men and women


3. Penalties, Punishments and Sentencing for California Penal Code section 261 Rape

Rape is a Felony if convicted you could face

Formal Probation

Prision for 3, 6, or 8 Years.

and the Lifetime registration requirement.

If there is Great Bodily Injury and additional 3,4, or five years.



To accuse someoene of Rape requires little or no evidence ; however, for the person to be convicted there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

False Accusation

Someone may accuse you of rape out of Jelousy, anger, or any other reasons


If the person consented then they cannot be Raped.

Insufficient Evidence

If the alleged victim does not see medical attention there may be no physical evidence to corroborate her statements.  Also, if no one sees or hears the incident than a similiarly there is no evidence. 

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity can happen for a variety of reasons

poor lighting

faces masks

prejudicial in person lineups or photographic lineups.

Penal Code Section 261.5 Statutory Rape

Statutory Rape takes place when an adult has sexual intercourse with an individual under 18, referred to as a minor. 

If you have been arrested for or investigated for any of the offenses listed above call us immediately. 





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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
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