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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Petit theft charges and more: What you should know

Theft is a common crime, and it's something most people are familiar with from an early age. Children may steal from one another, or teens might try their hands at pick-pocketing people at the malls. Shoplifting, breaking into someone's home to steal items and other kinds of thefts are all under this general category of criminal acts.

The penalties you'll face for committing a theft depend on the severity of the crime. Someone taking a few dollars' worth of food is less likely to face a harsh penalty compared to someone who robs a bank, for instance. Depending on the kind of crime you commit, you could be facing a felony or misdemeanor charge.

If you've stolen a relatively low amount of property, then you may be charged with petit or petty theft. Usually, the limit for petty theft charges is no more than $1,000 in theft. This usually applies to cases of shoplifting or other minor thefts. This kind of charge may be a misdemeanor, which typically has fines and jail times of less than a single year.

Penalties range significantly, which is why it's always important to know exactly what you're accused of. If you don't, you could be shocked by the charges you end up facing and the allegations against you. When you're accused of a crime such as theft, you want to know that you did everything possible to prevent a conviction. Fortunately, there are many ways to defend yourself against criminal allegations. Taking steps to do so can help prevent unfair penalties, damage to your reputation and other disruptions in your life.

Source: FindLaw, "Theft Penalties and Sentencing," accessed Jan. 31, 2018

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