What is Considered Juvenile Petty Theft?
The State of California considers petty theft as being the theft of a property valued at $950 or less and made without the use of threat, violence, or force. When your child has been charged with petty theft, your child will likely face negative consequences, but it is always important to remain calm and seek the legal support of a professional criminal defense attorney. With office locations conveniently located throughout Southern California, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP can help.
Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP has an established reputation for being aggressive criminal defense attorneys, helping many clients facing criminal charges, such as juvenile petty theft. Over the years, the law firm has successfully helped clients build a strong defense that allowed for lessened charges or a dismissal of their case altogether. The law firm understands how stressful and challenging it can be when your child faces criminal charges. To ensure a favorable outcome, consider contacting Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP. Schedule a complimentary consultation with the firm today by completing the online contact form here.
Petty Theft Can Involve Numerous Offenses
The State of California recognizes several forms of petty theft, which include:
- Theft under false pretenses, such as swindling or borrowing an item without the intention to return the item to its rightful owner.
- Larceny, such as shoplifting.
- Embezzlement, such as taking an item that was entrusted by a person who trusted the defendant.
Considering the three types of offenses, juvenile petty theft charges are usually those involving shoplifting.
The Juvenile Justice System in California
The state treats underage defendants differently than adult defendants. For the most part, juvenile courts are far more lenient than adult courts, and juveniles usually avoid long-term repercussions for their bad actions.
Another difference between the two is that there are usually no jury trials in California juvenile courts. When their case goes to trial, they will usually have a bench trial, meaning, the judge will make a decision on their case as opposed to a jury.
When a minor is cited for theft, the minor will need to appear in court for the offense. Judges will usually expect the parents to appear in court as well.
Potential Penalties in a Juvenile Petty Theft Case
The penalties for a petty theft crime involving a juvenile are often flexible. Juveniles are usually offered diversion programs when charged with a crime such as theft. Examples of potential penalties include, but are not limited to:
- Informal Probation – This type of punishment may not require the juvenile defendant to appear in court, but it could require the defendant to: Pay restitution, Attend educational classes, and Be ordered community service.
- Formal Probation – Formal probation in a juvenile criminal defense case could require the underage defendant to: Pay restitution, Make a court appearance, Attend educational classes, Be ordered community service, Be ordered a curfew, and Go to counseling.
In most juvenile cases, incarceration is unlikely unless the minor is a repeat offender or when the crime rises above a level of petty theft.
Hire a Professional Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away
The California justice system treats criminal charges very differently when the offender is under the age of 18. When your child is facing petty theft charges, you will need to take swift action and obtain the legal support of a well-versed criminal defense attorney.
The criminal defense attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP have successfully represented many underage defendants in a variety of crimes, including petty theft. To ensure a favorable outcome in your child’s case, consider contacting the Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP law firm today. Schedule your free initial case evaluation here.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.