A petty theft conviction carries up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. However, if you have a prior theft conviction on your criminal record, you could be charged with a separate crime that carries more severe consequences under California Penal Code Section 666. This crime is referred to as “petty theft with a prior,” and it requires the help of a skilled theft defense lawyer if you are accused of this crime.
When Can You Be Charged with Petty Theft with a Prior? (PC 666)
The crime of petty theft with a prior is complicated because it only applies after you have been convicted of the crime of petty theft. Once you have been convicted, the jury will have to decide whether the crime of petty theft with a prior applies in your case.
In order to convict you of petty theft with a prior under PC 666, the prosecution must prove the following two elements of the crime:
- You have one or more prior convictions for a theft crime for which you served jail or prison time, and
- You also have a conviction for a serious or violent California crime for which you served time in jail or prison
In addition to a theft crime conviction, you also must have a conviction for any of the following offenses in order to face charges of petty theft with a prior:
- Theft or fraud of an elderly person in violation of California elder abuse laws (PC 368)
- A sex crime requiring you to register as a sex offender under PC 290, or
- A serious or violent felony
“Serious or violent” felony offenses include:
- Gross vehicular manslaughter
- Sex crimes with a child under 14 years old
- Sex crimes committed through the use of force or fear
- Solicitation to commit murder
- Assault with a machine gun on a peace officer
- Possession of a weapon of mass destruction, and
- Any other felony punishable by life in prison or the death penalty
Penalties for Petty Theft with a Prior
Petty theft with a prior is a wobbler offense in California, meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case and your prior criminal history. Misdemeanor petty theft with a prior carries up to 364 days in county jail. A felony is punishable by 16 months, 2 or 3 years in California state prison.
These penalties are severe. That is why you should contact our experienced theft defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich immediately if you have been accused of petty theft.
Contact the Theft Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of petty theft, you should speak to an experienced theft defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich right away. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing theft charges for more than 40 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich theft defemse attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.