Statistical analyses of petty theft in Los Angeles paint a pretty grim holiday picture.
According to the National Retail Federation, 95% of all retail stores (that’s 19 out of every 20 stores) falls victim to petty theft during the Yuletide season: that’s a spike of 30% over normal crime rates.
The diversity of petty theft schemes is literally too large to catalog. Some cases are relatively simple: A thief might snatch a purse left in a shopping cart unattended or take a “five finger discount” at a candy shop or convenience store. Some items are more prone to be stolen than others. Games, shoes and apparel tend to be big targets. Sometimes “odd ball” items can also be targeted. For instance, as we covered earlier this year, Tide detergent apparently is a commonly pilfered item. Thieves steal the Tide and then resell it on the black market.
Some theft crimes are motivated by economic desperation. Some are motivated by the desire to make mischief. Sometimes people steal to resell items in order to have money to purchase gifts for their friends and family. That may sound twisted, but that’s a common situation, as well.
If you stand accused of a minor theft charge in Southern California, however, you need to take your situation extremely seriously.
First of all, the penalties for conviction of even a minor misdemeanor can be pretty intense. You may have to spend some time in jail, pay restitution, attend mandatory classes or parole, etc. These punishments can then have secondary negative effects. You might be expelled or suspended from school, for instance, or fired from your job. You might also face humiliation, economic consequences, and certainly a ruined holiday season. Beyond that, a petty theft conviction can essentially “tag” you as a criminal offender and thus make any subsequent (or co-current) charges that much more significant.
For instance, let’s say you stole some electronics out of a Santa sack at the mall and got arrested and convicted of petty theft. Next year, you and your friends try the same act, and you get caught again. So now you face a second petty theft charge within a two-year period. Given that you’re now a recidivist offender, prosecutors can technically hit you with a felony count. If convicted, you could be forced to spend over a year of your life behind bars!
That won’t necessarily happen to you, but it could, and the quality of the Southern California criminal defense you put up can hugely impact your punishments, both present and potential future ones. The team here at the Kraut Law Group would be happy to help you develop a strategy to battle your current charges and rectify problems in your life that might be leading you to get in trouble with the law.
Get in touch with ex-prosecutor and Harvard Law School educated Attorney Kraut to unravel your legal mess and redeem this holiday season.