Petty Theft

Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense alleged when the property stolen is valued at less than $950. Petty theft crimes are often charged under Sections 484(a) & 488 of the California Penal Code. If the property stolen is valued at $950 or more, then the crime can be charged as Grand Theft, which can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

The most common type of petty theft crime charged in San Francisco, CA, is retail theft from a merchant or retail store, which is often called “shoplifting.” Under California law, shoplifting involving a theft from a merchant or retail establishment by a customer is usually charged under Penal Code Section 459.5.

The District Attorney’s Office in San Francisco can offer a diversion program in a shoplifting or petty theft case for a person with no prior criminal record so that a conviction can be avoided. If you are convicted of petty theft, the crime is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, plus a fine of up to $1,000, and additional fees and restitution under California Penal Code Section 490.

For a first offense of taking property valued at less than $50, the prosecutor has the discretion to reduce the charge to an infraction. The infraction comes with no jail time, but fines of up to $250, and a requirement that you complete community service and an anti-theft class. You might also be required to pay restitution or a civil penalty to the retail or commercial establishment.

A conviction for petty theft is also considered a crime of moral turpitude or a crime of dishonesty, which comes with collateral consequences that last long after the case is resolved in court. A charge of petit theft with a prior can be charged as felony petty theft which comes with more serious consequences.

Attorney for Petty Theft and Shoplifting in San Francisco, CA

If you were charged with petty theft (sometimes called “petit theft” or “shoplifting”) in California, then contact a criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers.

Our offices are located near Park Presidio on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco, CA. We serve clients charged with theft and shoplifting offenses throughout the City of San Francisco and the surrounding areas including San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County and Contra Costa County, CA.

The San Francisco criminal defense attorneys at Ticket Crushers fight cases in the Hall of Justice Building in San Francisco, CA. Let us put our experience to work for you. Whether this is your first offense or you have been caught before, call 1 (866) 842-5384 to discuss your case today.

The Difference between Grand Theft and Petty Theft

Grand theft involves the taking of property valued at more than $950. The California Legislature has also created a number of crimes that are classified as grand theft because of the type of property stolen regardless of the value of the property. For example, the theft of any automobile, livestock, or a firearm, no matter its value, can be charged as a grand theft in California under Penal Code Section 487(2).

The crime of grand theft in California can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony grand theft conviction is punishable for up to three years in prison or jail. A misdemeanor grand theft conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail. The penalty can be increased for a number of different reasons, including a prior theft conviction, committing an act of violence, or destroying property during the commission of the crime.

Different Types of Petty Theft in California

The crime of petty theft can be charged under many different theories depending on the way the taking occurred. For instance, petty theft can involve larceny, trick, false pretenses, or embezzlement. If the case involves many petty thefts or involves multiple victims, then each theft can be aggregated into a felony offense if it involves a common scheme or overall plan.

If the theft occurred from a retail establishment or merchant that sales items to the public such as a department store, convenient store, or grocery store, then the offense is often called “shoplifting.”

Read more about how our San Francisco attorneys fight shoplifting charges.

Additional Resources

San Francisco Police Department on Theft — Visit the San Francisco Police Department to learn more about how victims of theft are able to report the crime to the police department in San Francisco. The SFPD online report system does not accept reports for the following types of theft: identity theft and vehicle license plate theft. For all other types of theft cases, the online report system can be used to submit the report online. A person can also supplement the original report online. Many of these reports are made by a person who submits the report on behalf of an employer, government agency, or for their own business. If the theft was from any building occupied by people (including a private residence or business), it may be considered a burglary and needs to be investigated by the police department immediately.

Finding an Attorney for Petty Theft in San Francisco, CA

If you were charged with petty theft in San Francisco or the greater Bay Area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. Our theft attorneys in San Francisco are experienced in fighting the charges to help you avoid a conviction, which comes with a lifetime of serious consequences.

We represent both women and men charged with shoplifting and other forms of petty theft. Many of our cases involve a person charged with a first offense and no prior record. We understand the stakes are high and we work hard to help you get the best possible result.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call us today at 1 (866) 842-5384 to discuss your case for petty theft either in the office or over the phone.