Many “petty theft with a prior” charges occur in shoplifting cases even if the item taken is not particularly valuable. If the prosecutor can make the prior showing then the charge under Penal Code 666 for “felony petty theft” can be alleged. A charge of felony petty theft is much more serious than a simple petty theft for a first offense which can only be charged as a misdemeanor.
Legal defenses in these cases include showing that you did not intend to steal the item, that the item actually belonged to you, or that you were falsely accused of taking the item. Also, if you do not have a qualifying prior on your record, then your attorney can file a motion to dismiss the charge which might force the prosecutor to charge the offense as a less serious charge as a simply petty theft under Penal Code 490.
Attorney for Petty Theft with a Prior in San Francisco, CA
If you were charged with petty theft with a prior under Penal Code Section 666, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. Our attorneys for theft crimes in San Francisco, CA, are experienced in fighting a wide variety of theft charges including petty theft and grand theft.
Call us at 1 (866) 842-5384 for a free consultation to discuss your case today.
Definition of Petty Theft with a Prior under Penal Code 666
California’s Penal Code in Section 666 sets out the legal definition of “petty theft with a prior.” The offense requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time the petty theft was committed, the defendant:
- had a prior conviction for a theft crime;
- served time in jail or prison on that prior theft crime;
- another qualifying conviction for one of the following:
Penalties for Petty Theft with a Prior in California
Although petty theft is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a fine of $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail, petty theft with a prior is a more serious offense. See Penal Code 490. Petty theft with a prior under Penal Code 666 is considered to be a “wobbler” which means it can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If petty theft with a prior is charged as a misdemeanor, then the statutory maximum jail sentence that can be imposed is one (1) year in county jail. If the crime is charged as a felony, then the penalties for petty theft with a prior include a California state prison term of sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or three (3) years.
Requirements for the Petty Theft with a “Prior”
In order to be sentenced to penalties for petty theft with a prior, you must first be convicted of the prior conviction for a theft crime include a conviction for:
- petty theft under PC 488;
- grand theft including grand theft of a firearm under PC 487;
- a conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) or (e) of Section 368;
- auto theft under Section 10851 of the Vehicle Code (also known as grand theft auto);
- burglary under PC 459;
- carjacking under PC 215;
- robbery under PC 211; or
- a felony violation of Section 496 (including felony receiving stolen property).
In addition to the conviction for a theft crime, punishment under the statute for petty theft with a prior also requires a showing of a conviction for one of the following offenses:
- any “sexually violent offense” as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (which includes sex crimes committed by use of force, violence, or threat of bodily injury or retaliation);
- sex crimes against a child under the age of 14 including:
- oral copulation with a child who is under 14 years of age, and who is more than 10 years younger than he or she as defined by Section 288a;
- sodomy with another person who is under 14 years of age and more than 10 years younger than he or she as defined by Section 286;
- sexual penetration with another person who is under 14 years of age, and who is more than 10 years younger than he or she, as defined by Section 289;
- a lewd or lascivious act involving a child under 14 years of age, in violation of Section 288;
- any homicide offense, including any attempted homicide offense, defined in Sections 187 to 191.5, inclusive (including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated under PC 191.5);
- solicitation to commit murder as defined in Section 653f;
- assault with a machine gun on a peace officer or firefighter, as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (d) of Section 245;
- possession of a weapon of mass destruction, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11418; or
- any serious and/or violent felony offense punishable in California by life imprisonment or death.
Different Types of Petty Theft with a Prior in California
The crime of petty theft in California consists of unlawfully taking someone else’s property when that property is valued at nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less.
Although must petty theft charges arise in the context of larceny-theft from a retail establishment during normal business hours (also known as “shoplifting”), petty theft can also involve other theories of theft such as:
Finding an Attorney for Petty Theft with a Prior in San Francisco
Petty theft with a prior conviction is a wobbler in California law. For crimes that are classified as a wobbler, the prosecutor can choose to try the charges as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the facts of the case. If you are charged with the serious criminal offense of petty theft with a prior in San Francisco, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers.
Your attorney can fight to get the charge reduced down to a simple petty theft by challenging the current petty theft charge and also challenging the prior convictions.
Call the experienced theft crimes attorneys in San Francisco, CA, at Ticket Crushers to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Find out how our criminal defense attorneys fight to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether.