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Petty theft or shoplifting do not seem like serious charges, and yet the benefits of hiring a criminal defense attorney for cases like these are often overlooked. In fact, petty theft or shoplifting might even be your first criminal offense, so why bother hiring a lawyer, right?
Well, wrong. Just because you are being accused of petty theft or shoplifting it does not necessarily mean that your criminal case will not be taken seriously by the prosecutor nor does it mean that defending yourself in these cases does not require you to have a vast knowledge in California’s criminal justice system.
In fact, by representing yourself in a criminal case you are playing with fire. Being charged with petty theft or shoplifting might not result in jail time, but these charges will most likely have far-reaching consequences beyond the usual penalties such as probation, fines, and community service.
Our Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney at the Okabe & Haushalter law firm explains that in California, any theft of property or money is classified as “petty theft” as long as the stolen property or money do not exceed $950. On top of such penalties as jail time, probation, fines, and community service, those convicted of petty theft are also ordered to stay away from the victim of theft (an individual or business).
If you have done some research already, you probably know that the vast majority of first offense petty theft charges in California do not result in jail time. This is often the main reason why people arrested on suspicion of petty theft or shoplifting wrongly believe that being legally represented by a defense attorney is not worth it.
But it actually is. You see, even if petty theft is your first offense, the conviction will have long-lasting consequences well beyond the above-mentioned penalties. Having a petty theft conviction on your criminal record will make you less hireable in the eyes of prospective employers. You will also most likely find it difficult to get approval for personal and student loans.
In addition to that, having a petty theft conviction on your criminal record will also bar you from participating in recreational sports programs, volunteering at your child’s school, as well as make you ineligible for professional licensing.
Even something as insignificant as petty theft can have dire consequences, which is why it is highly advised to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or elsewhere in California. Even if it is not possible to drop the charges, your lawyer will do whatever it takes to reduce the severity of the charges.
If fighting for your reputation and future is not convincing enough, then you should definitely consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer to avoid having to collect a tremendous amount of evidence, make numerous nerve-wracking appearances in criminal court, read tons of criminal defense law books, and fill out a monstrous amount of paperwork, all by yourself, with no experience whatsoever.
Here at the Okabe & Haushalter law firm, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your particular case. Find out what your best criminal defense strategy is in your particular case. Get in touch with our Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney by calling at 310-430-7799 or fill out this contact form today.