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Orange County Bar Association

Petty Theft Alternative Sentencing and Dispositions

Penal Code Sections 484-488

There are various ways to resolve a Defendant’s charge of Petty Theft.  Because this charge is considered a crime of moral turpitude many Defendants must have the case dismissed or risk losing their jobs or having their chances of new employment significantly reduced. The following are methods of getting the case dismissed:

  1. Request a District Attorney Continuance. A skillful attorney can persuade the District Attorney to continue the case for a period of time (usually 3-6 months) and require the Defendant to take a class and/or complete community service with the end result that the case is dismissed after the continuance period. The District Attorney may decide the Defendant is worthy because they have no prior record, they have career aspirations that may be effected by such a conviction and/or any other reason the Defense Attorney can provide.  This is the best resolution generally because there is no guilty plea and on most official records it will appear that the matter was simply dismissed.
  2. Deferred Entry of Judgment. This method of resolving the case is the second best since it results in a dismissal. However, it usually also requires a guilty plea up front with a dismissal some time later after the Defendant has completed a class and/or community service. For some vocations that initial guilty plea can prove fatal and inhibit the person from getting a job in a chosen field. Regardless, sometimes it is the best that can be done and since it results in a dismissal in the end it usually does not have a detrimental effect on the Defendant.
  3. A Negotiated Disposition. In cases where the first two options are not available because of policy reasons or a stubborn District Attorney then the Defense Attorney will simply have to negotiate the best deal he can. Often times more demanding requirements (a 10-week shoplifting class) may be offered with the hope of getting a dismissal coupled with extensive community service or other type of punishment.

The more experienced the attorney is in dealing with Petty Theft cases the more likely a favorable result. Orange County criminal attorney Will Bruzzo has successfully handled many petty theft cases.

Please contact Mr. Bruzzo on any criminal matter at (714) 547-4636.

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