Understanding Petty Theft Charges in California

An extremely common crime in California involves stealing small, easily concealable items. Under California Penal Code 484, theft is defined as taking another person’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of their property. However, two types are noted in the law: petty and grand theft. While petty theft is considered taking property valued at less than $950, grand theft is anything above $950. 

Even though grand theft charges may be more severe, a petty theft conviction can still result in harsh penalties, fines, potential incarceration, and future societal issues. When facing petty theft charges in California, do not wait until it is too late and speak with an experienced attorney about your potential legal options. Without legal representation and guidance, you may face harsher penalties and consequences than you deserve. 

What Are Potential Penalties for Petty Theft in California?

The severity of petty theft charges will depend on your number of previous offenses and the stolen property value. For example, if this is your first time facing a petty theft conviction and the property you steal is valued at less than $50, you may only face an infraction charge with a fine of up to $250. However, even a low-value, first petty theft offense could be charged as a misdemeanor depending on the situation and if the individual does not have legal representation.

If the theft is over $50 but under $950, individuals may face misdemeanor charges with up to six months in prison and mandatory fines of up to $1,000—even for a first-time offense. A judge will consider several factors before making their final decision, which allows an experienced legal professional the ability to argue on your behalf and limit the consequences you face. With the representation of a highly-qualified attorney, you may avoid repercussions altogether and save yourself from major challenges down the road.

When to Speak With a Petty Theft Defense Attorney

While you may consider petty theft as a minor offense, you may face major consequences and incarceration, depending on your situation. It is essential to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so that your legal representation has the time and ability to protect your rights and life. There are many ways our Aron Law Firm criminal defense lawyers may provide invaluable legal services, including the following: 

  • Answer questions regarding their charges and the legal process
  • Advise clients on the consequences of a conviction, plea, or criminal record
  • Asses the prosecutor’s case and potential sentences—and the likelihood of a particular judge awarding that sentence
  • Represent the defendant at arraignments, hearings, and court trials
  • Research and analyze the facts of the case
  • Investigate the case against clients and gather relevant evidence
  • Negotiate a plea bargain with prosecutors, including reduced sentences, charges, or bail
  • Question witnesses and present their findings to a judge or jury

With years of experience protecting the rights of accused individuals in California, the Aron Law Firm team understands the inner workings of California legislation and will offer highly-qualified representation and advice. When you partner with our team, you gain the resources and tools necessary to receive the best possible outcome for your case.

Speak With an Experienced California Petty Theft Defense Attorney at Aron Law Firm

Built on providing relief and advice during extremely stressful times, the Aron Law Firm team is prepared to do whatever it takes to receive the best possible outcome for your case. Our countless positive testimonials and past results showcase our commitment to clients and their legal challenges.

By offering client-tailored, professional legal services, our clients can feel confident in our ability to offer a smooth legal process. Do not wait until it is too late. The sooner you speak with one of our attorneys, the more time we have to protect your rights. Call (805) 618-1768 or complete our contact form to speak with one of our team members today.

William M. Aron


William M. Aron

August 15, 2023

Former Deputy District Attorney William Aron received his Juris Doctorate from the Duke School of Law and has amassed 20 years of experience practicing law. Attorney Aron dedicates his practice to defending the accused, and is devoted to keeping his clients out of prison.