Petty Theft Lawyers Near Me

What you need to know about petty theft and why getting legal help is important!

Should I hire a petty theft lawyer?

Some people do not consider petty theft as a serious crime, that probably why some don’t think that they need petty theft lawyers also known as criminal defense lawyers to help when dealing with a petty theft crime issue.

People generally do not believe that they will be arrested or be in serious trouble for petty theft/larceny.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2016 Crime Report, law enforcement arrest 1,353,283 were for property crimes including larceny-thefts.

The thing is that in the eyes of the law in some states, the punishment is more than you can conceive because a crime is a crime, no matter how minimal.

Even for a citation for petty theft such as shoplifting, which means theft from a store, petty theft attorneys are recommended.

What is petty theft?

Petty theft is a type of crime that includes things or properties of low value. In many states, petty theft is considered to be unlawful and is severely punished.

Examples of petty theft may include:

  • Exchanging price tags at a supermarket so that you can pay a lesser amount than you are supposed to pay
  • Eating from a hotel and departing quickly so you don’t pay the bill
  • Watching movies from a theater and not paying for it
  • Boarding a bus, then hiding so that you will not pay the bus fare
  • Overcharging the customers to get more profit
  • Shoplifting
  • Eat and run and not paying for the food eaten

People do not consider these crimes, but in the eyes of the law, the people committing these acts are criminals and must face the consequences accordingly. These types of crimes cost businesses money even though you might think it is not a serious crime.

Employee petty theft can be very damaging to small businesses.

If finding yourself with a petty theft citation or charged seek an experienced petty theft crime lawyer near you help immediately.

Typical petty theft penalties

As per statistics released by the FBI, the arrest rate for larceny-theft was 326.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.  Even though not all these arrests for petty thefts may lead to charges, just know that the consequences can be severe when charged and convicted in some states.

Penalties for petty theft differ from state to state. Different states have different ways on how they administer the punishment and your punishment can also be determined by how the attorney for petty theft defense that you hired defended you and his or her skills.

For example, in California, the penalties depend on the importance of the property stolen and whether the offender is a first or second-time offender or if they are regular offenders. For example,  penalties for petty theft and shoplifting in California are as follows:

For the first time offense,

  • The accused can be charged with a misdemeanor.
  • If they are charged with a misdemeanor, the custody time will be six months in jail.
  • There will be a fine of 1,000 dollars if it is a misdemeanor and up to 250 dollars if charged with an infraction.

For shoplifting, it is always charged as a misdemeanor unless the defendant was once convicted of a super strike where it can be charged as a felony depending on how the petty theft attorney categorizes it.

If the offender has no prior conviction, the punishment is as follows:

  • Violation type is a misdemeanor
  • Custody time of up to six months in jail
  • A fine of 1000 dollars
  • Informal probation

If the defendant has been previously convicted, the punishment is as follows;

  • Can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony
  • Probation-informal or formal

Penalties for petty theft in Texas are as follows:

In Texas, punishments for shoplifting and petty theft are charged as either fines or jail time depending on the amount taken or the value of the item taken. The penalties are:

  • For items under $50, it is charged as a misdemeanor and fined up to $500.
  •  Between $50-$500, a fine of $2000 and a jail time of up to 180 days is set.
  • For $500-$1500, a fine of $4000 and a jail time of one year is in place.
  •  $1500-$20000 is considered a felony and the offender is charged a fine of up to $4000 with one year in jail.

If charged with either of these, the accused should hire a theft defense attorney to help plea with the prosecutor to drop the charges.

Typical legal defenses

The experienced and skilled petty theft lawyers usually know all the possible legal defenses that can be used in such cases.

Though circumstances may differ, the defenses are sometimes almost the same.  Most commonly used defenses that a defense attorney may use is as follows:

  • You had no intention of stealing.
  • The owner of the item stolen item was aware of it.
  • They try to convince them that the property belonged to the offender.
  • It was a scam.
  • There is not enough evidence that stealing took place.

Who are petty theft lawyers

Petty theft lawyers offer legal representation for petty theft and shoplifting crimes. They ensure that your rights are secured. This is done at the state and federal level.  A criminal attorney should be contacted when one is faced with these kinds of offenses.

These civil lawyers have a deeper understanding of the law. In addition, they operate in a specific jurisdiction which makes them aware of the court system and the possible defenses. Petty theft and shoplifting lawyers help to create the best defense for a better outcome.

Do I need a private criminal lawyer for a petty theft defense?

Petty theft and shoplifting offenses come with penalties that differ from one state to the next. The best thing is that there are many options when it comes to representation and this includes self-representation.

However, it is always expensive to seek the services of a lawyer. This is because they are best equipped to deal with the cases at hand.

The right criminal defense attorneys have experience and a thorough knowledge of the law which makes it necessary to hire them as soon as the issue arises. Their negotiating skills help some cases to be solved out of court.

How can a private law firm near me be helpful?

It is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are faced with a shoplifting or petty theft crime. This is because a shoplifting law firm near you can represent you aggressively and make sure that your privileges, rights, and interests are protected.

An attorney also starts intervening early enough. The private attorneys spend a significant amount of time preparing for the case at hand and understanding it inside and out. Some of the criminal defense attorneys also specialize in a specific part of the law-making them experts and therefore the best legal representation that you can get.

Petty theft lawyer costs

The actual costs of hiring a petty theft lawyer depend on many factors. There are many variables such as the experience of the attorney, the city or state where the crime was committed, the nature of the crime, and even whether the case is taken to court or not.

There are also different types of payments that the lawyer can ask for. If the lawyer charges a flat rate, then you may have to part with anywhere between 1,000 to 3,000 dollars. If the case goes to trial, then things get even more elevated with the price increase. You may have to pay between 5,000 and 8,000 dollars.

Payment options to help you pay for legal fees

Sometimes legal fees can discourage people from seeking legal assistance. However, it is always better to seek the help of a lawyer as soon as the issue arises. Lawyers are a lot more flexible today. Even though you may need to part with a mandatory retainer free before they start working on your case, it is possible to still get monthly payment plans arranged for you.

There are other financing options such as lending companies. LendingUSA is one of the most popular options for petty theft crimes.

Can I get a free consultation?

Yes. Most petty theft attorneys do offer free initial consultations for these types of charges. This allows the defendant a chance to seek legal representation and find out how much they really need to be represented regardless of how small the petty theft crime looks.

Get professional help now

Please call to be connected with petty theft attorneys near you at no cost to you for a free consultation.


Can you go to jail for petty theft?

Yes, you can. It depends on many circumstances. But it is possible to be sentenced to the county jail for a few months contact a criminal law firm in your area for more details about your state laws regarding this.

Can a petty theft be dropped?

Yes, it can be dropped. Your lawyer can convince the DA not to file the case, especially, for a first time offender. This is one of the benefits of hiring a petty theft defense law firm.

How bad is a petty theft misdemeanor?

In some states, a misdemeanor petty theft may result in monetary fines and a few months in county jail.

Does petty theft go on your record?

Yes, it does stay on your criminal record. Since it is typically charged as a misdemeanor in most states, misdemeanors stay on one’s criminal record.

How much is a petty theft fine?

The fine depends on the state. The fine for petty theft is mostly $500 or less in most states.