Most petty theft charges occur when a person is accused of shoplifting. Usually, a store's security or loss prevention agent will approach the suspect as they exit the store. The store will then detain the suspect and decide if they are going to press charges. If they do, the police will be called and the suspect will be issued a petty theft ticket to show up in court on a certain date and time. Sometimes, the suspect will be taken into the police station before they are given the ticket.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then something similar may have happened to you. Please know that you must show up to your court date or a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. This court date is known as your arraignment. When you appear before the judge at your arraignment, you will be explained what the charges against you are. The judge will also ask you how you plead. You can plead either guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, you will pay a fine, may be given community service and may do jail time. You will also have a criminal conviction on your record. This conviction on your record can have serious consequences toward your future. It can have an effect on employment, educational, military opportunities and many other important things in your life.
If you plead not guilty, the court will set up a pretrial court date. A pretrial gives the prosecutor and the defense the opportunity to come to an agreement and resolve the matter. If an agreement is reached, there will not be a need to take the case to trial. In no agreement is reached, a trial date will be scheduled. At a trial, your case will be heard and a final decision will be made by either a judge or a jury.
If you have been charged with petty theft - shoplifting, you are going to want to hire a defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you are innocent of the crime, you do not need to go through the complicated and confusing court system alone. If you are guilty of the crime, hiring a defense lawyer can also benefit you. You should talk to an experienced lawyer before your arraignment date. An attorney can advise you on how you should plead. They can also sometimes get the charges dismissed or reduced.
There are many defense strategies that can be used against a petty theft charge. Every case is different and an experienced attorney will need to know all the details of the incident before deciding what strategy to take. You must remember that it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that you committed the crime. They will need to prove that you had an intent to steal.
The Law Office of Nicolai Cocis can help you win your case. Lead attorney Nicolai Cocis graduated with honors from the University of California Riverside and has the criminal case experience that you will need. We will go over the details of your case and tell you what your best possible options are. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. If the store or the police did not follow legal procedures, it is possible that the case can be dropped. A good lawyer will read over all security / police reports and may be able to spot vulnerabilities in their case against you.
Do not let the name mislead you; there is nothing petty about a petty theft conviction. You will need an experienced lawyer such as Nicolai Cocis fighting for your rights. We offer free consultation so that we can learn about your case. The first step that you will want to take is to contact us.
Our law office is located near the Southwest Juvenile Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent individuals who have been arrested in Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee, Hemet, Perris, Banning, Corona and Riverside.