In California the Penal Code Sections 484 and 488 are two sections under which petty theft is handled and prosecuted, depending on the circumstances involved with the charges.
Theft is the unlawful taking of somebody else’s property without their permission. What defines the difference between grand theft and petty theft is the value, type of property stolen, and method used. California Penal Code Section 487 PC covers grand theft while California Penal Code Sections 484 and 488 both cover petty theft.
Penal Code Section 484 covers general theft violations which has many different degrees of theft. Violating this code is a criminal offense which includes extensive fees, probation, and jail time. To prove this type of theft the prosecutor has to prove not only that the person stole another person’s property, but they also have to prove it was without consent of the owner. The prosecutor must also prove the intent of the defendant was to permanently deprive the owner of the stolen property.
Under Penal Code 488 petty theft involves the theft of property with a value of less than $950 and is charged as either an infraction or misdemeanor. An example of petty theft of this type is shoplifting. Even though it’s a misdemeanor, it’s still on the accused’s permanent record. The punishment of this type of petty theft includes a fine of up to $1,000, time in county jail of up to six months, or both.
Penal Code 487 covers grand theft. It is also the intentional stealing of another person’s property, but the amount must exceed the state’s statutory amount, which in California is $400. Grand theft also includes taking property by force or fear from another person, such as robbery using a firearm or knife, which could also carry the charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
If you have been arrested and accused of petty theft, it’s imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.