Legal Tips & Resources
The holidays bring out masses of visitors and shoppers, all looking to spend money and score gifts for family and friends. Thousands of dollars’ worth of toys, clothes, electronics, and other items stock store shelves and take up room in vehicles and under Christmas trees. Unfortunately, this proves all too tempting for some, resulting in a rash of petty theft and shoplifting crimes. If you are facing these types of charges, it is important to be aware of the potential penalties you face, and the steps needed to protect yourself.
Many communities face an increase of thefts during the holiday season, including local businesses, vehicles, and homes. Some of these incidents involve petty crimes and pranks or homes broken into by thieves. Other types of theft crimes common over the holiday season include:
· Home thefts, where suspects steal unopened packages left under the tree or in garages and crawl spaces
· Cars thefts, which targets vehicles along with the packages and presents people often keep in their trunks as a way of hiding them from little ones
· Pickpocket crimes, targeting shoppers and holiday visitors to San Jose and the surrounding areas
· Shoplifting crimes, which is a common problem throughout the year but tends to surge over the holidays
Defending Yourself Against Petty Theft Charges
Under criminal law, theft is defined as intentionally and unlawfully taking or appropriating another’s property. In even seemingly minor situations, the penalties you face for a conviction can be severe.
Petty theft is considered taking any items worth $500 or less. This amount may vary depending on the state you are charged in. As a misdemeanor offense, it involves fines up to $1,000 and up to a 12 months jail sentence. However, if you have a previous conviction, petty theft may be considered a ‘wobbler’. This means you could face felony charges, resulting in higher fines and a lengthier jail sentence. In cases involving shoplifting or breaking and entering cars or homes, your penalties only increase based on the crime involved.
In these situations, you need to protect yourself by getting an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Efforts they can take on your behalf include:
· Disputing the circumstances surrounding your arrests
· Disputing the evidence against you
· Gathering our own evidence in support of your defense
· Negotiating to have your charges reduced or dismissed
Contact Theft Attorneys Today
When facing criminal charges that could result in heavy fines and jail times, you need a lawyer on your side. To discuss your case, contact a dedicated theft lawyer in San Mateo, CA for a consultation today.
Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and court appointed defense attorneys.