Many people ask, if I am charged and ultimately receive a theft conviction, how will it affect me?  Theft under section 484(a) of the Penal Code is defined as “[e]very person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile character and by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft.  The value of the goods is one of the determinations used by the prosecutors in their decision to file the charge as a misdemeanor or a felony.  This value has been increased to $950.


Misdemeanor theft, also referred to as petty theft  or shoplifting and felony theft, also referred to as grand theft are charges that if convicted can affect you in many ways outside of the typical court punishment.  Theft is a crime of moral turpitude and can have an immediate effect on any professional license that you may hold.  Licensing agencies have been known to revoke, suspend or at a minimum place someone holding this professional license on a probationary period to ensure no future bad acts are committed.  For individuals seeking professional licenses, theft convictions can cause issues if not present a bar from obtaining one.  For others not seeking licensing, but otherwise seeking employment, theft conviction disclosures will make it extremely difficult for one to gain employment when there are many capable people seeking employment having conviction free records.


There are many varieties of felony theft, but they one thing they all have in common is the risk they can result in a felony conviction, jail or even prison sentences, formal probation and a variety of other serious consequences better avoided.  In addition, such charges can hamper an education, result in the loss or suspension of a professional license or deportation if you are not a full citizen.

Prosecutors in some counties are willing to offer plea agreements that allow defendants to avoid a criminal conviction, especially if the defendant has no prior convictions and the offense was minor in nature. Prosecutors are less likely to offer such a plea agreement if you have been charged with a felony level theft offense, but even then there are ways that we can help you minimize the negative impact of your charges.

Contact the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman at 310.557.1700 for a free consultation on how best to fight your case.