The more theft-related offenses you rack up, the harsher the District Attorney's Office will be on you when it comes to the charges they file and the punishment they ask for from the judge. However, with Proposition 47, the prosecutors have cooled their heels when it comes to theft-related offenses.
Now more than ever, having an attorney who has experience in this area of law where your case is pending can make a massive difference in the results that you can receive. Knowing the motion to file, where to file it and how to argue it in court is the best way to ensure the motion is granted, and the client can move on to a fresh start.
In the past, it was almost a certainty that if you were charged with a second theft-related offense, you would be facing jail time and even a potential felony, depending on the circumstances of the arrest. Now I am seeing a sharp swing to the benefit of the defendant. Petty theft with a prior is covered under California Penal Code 666 PC.
There are all kinds of vehicles that can be used to avoid a felony, jail time, and sometimes even avoid a conviction altogether. It is incredible how a subtle shift in the law can cause an avalanche in the prosecutor's and judge's resolve regarding petty theft and grand theft cases. This change can save future jobs or education for people who can avoid convictions for theft-related offenses.
How Can You Stay Out of Jail?
It is possible to protect your criminal record, even if you are charged with a second theft-related related offense in your lifetime. A few years ago in San Fernando and Van Nuys, CA, there was no way that I would make this type of a representation on the record.
However, once again, things have changed drastically in the theft offense arena in San Fernando Valley. There are all kinds of programs that can be negotiated when protecting your record and avoiding a conviction. One possible thing is to plead guilty or no contest to a theft-related offense and then earn a misdemeanor or dismissal in the future if you can show good behavior and your attorney can convince the judge and prosecutor to give you a break.
In my case, I use my 25 years of experience to convince the prosecutor and judge that if they give my client a chance, they will not be sorry, my client will get on the right path, and they will never see them in criminal court again. It is difficult to get a diversion program if you already have a petty theft case and you pick up a new case. The prosecutors believe in upping the punishment if you continue to commit the same crime repeatedly.
It is up to your attorney to make the argument that achieves the best result. This can usually be done to explain why you did what you did and give the prosecutor and the judge a solution for the problem so they genuinely believe it will not happen again.
Character letters from friends and family members can certainly help show that you have positive attributes that make it likely that you can get on the right path and not end up back in court again with a probation violation or a new case. Fortunately for you, the stage is now set for you to argue and be successful in a petty theft case or any theft-related offense.
Can You Reduce a Prior Felony Theft to a Misdemeanor?
We are going back to court time and time again for clients who had to plead guilty to a felony-related theft offense in the past and getting them misdemeanors and expungements regularly by using Proposition 47 to reduce the case.
Not everyone will qualify for a reduction, but in the big scheme of things, we are finding that many of our clients can get reductions and dismissals because they have led a reformed life. An intelligent attorney can figure out how to get the case back in front of the judge and get the job done for the client.
Motions to reduce felony theft-related offenses to misdemeanors are being filed and granted across San Fernando Valley, and good people are getting their rights and dignity back! If you or a loved one has a petty theft with priors felony conviction sitting on your criminal record, you owe it to yourself to come in and see what the Hedding Law Firm can do to get rid of the case once and for all. One phone call and meeting can set you on the road to getting your rights and good name back and putting the felony conviction in the rearview mirror.