Perhaps you and your frat buddies at UCLA got arrested for petty theft in Los Angeles after a crazy off-campus Christmas party. Or maybe the cops caught you stealing small items from a mall to “re-gift” to friends and family members.
In any case, you now face a misdemeanor charge — as well as other criminal counts, if you mixed up your petty theft with assault, robbery, or misbehavior towards a police officer.
It’s a New Year. You’d like a fresh start. You’d love to refocus on how to move your life forward in a positive direction — to make good on your 2013 resolutions.
But before you brainstorm how to “shed those last 10 pounds” (or whatever your resolution is); first, you must deal with your Los Angeles petty theft charge. Ideally, you’d like to avoid jail time, fines, humiliation, probation, and other penalties. You likely know that a misdemeanor conviction can stay on your record for an awfully long time and make you vulnerable to additional punishments if/when you get arrested again for a crime in Southern California.
The Golden State does not take kindly to recidivists.
For instance, let’s say that you net two misdemeanor petty theft convictions within a span of two years. Prosecutors would then have the capacity to slam you with a felony count for the second offense! As you probably know, a felony conviction can lead to over a year behind bars, and convicted felons are stripped of rights and impaired/inconvenienced for years.
Your current petty theft charge can also ricochet into other areas of your life. For instance, maybe you’re a student at UCLA, who got arrested after a fraternity prank. You could be expelled from school because of what you did.
Furthermore, all the agita stirred up by the arrest can cost you time, money, and energy — and potentially send you into depression. It can also negatively impact your self image. If you start to think of yourself as a convicted criminal, you might be more likely to associate with “bad people” and do additional “bad things” — a vicious cycle that can lead to a life in and out of jail.
All these arguments speak to the urgency of your situation. However, acting with blind haste is not the answer, either! Not all Los Angeles petty theft defense attorneys are created equal, for instance. If you choose an inexperienced or incompetent lawyer — or no lawyer at all — you could wind up under-represented and “over punished.”
On the other hand, if you take time to get experienced legal help — by connecting today for a free consultation with attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers, for instance — you’ll more likely make strategic, effective decisions about your future and petty theft charges.