Consequences for a PC 488 Petty theft

Asked over 3 years ago - Sacramento, CA

I usually shoplift at the bookstore in my university. I did it a few times and have never gotten caught...I did it again and they caught me I was taken into a room where they deal with theft and crime at the bookstore and they asked me if I had done this before at the bookstore and I told them "NO" but they had pictures of me shoplifting from before....I was handcuffed amd taken into a cops car and is dealing with emotional consequences...The items I stole on that day was worth around $130 and they asked me where the items were at from the earlier times and I gave them all the items back. The items total to around 250-300 dollars and theyt charged me with PC 488...I am a poor student and cannot afford a lawyer...

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Joseph Briscoe Dane


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You're going to need to be represented by a lawyer. If you truly cannot afford one, that's what the public defender is for. If you meet the financial qualifications, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you.

    You're going to have to work closely with your attorney. The benefit of hiring one (assuming you can work out the finances) is that you will have more access to your attorney and they can spend more time with you, working out a strategy and plan to try an minimize this mistake on your future. The public defenders are strictly criminal defense attorneys, but are unfortunately overworked, so cannot devote a lot of time to any one case or one client.

  2. Jason Chase Beahm


    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . Theft is considered a "crime of moral turpitude." That means that a conviction for petty theft is going to be a serious black mark on your record. I understand what it's like to be a poor student but I think it would be a mistake not to hire an attorney.

    A number of people in your situation simply plead guilty and take whatever the judge gives them. This is almost always a mistake because these cases are often winnable and deals can be reached with the district attorney before trial.

    My suggestion is to save up some money and contact an attorney. Keeping a theft conviction off your record is a no brainer.

    Best wishes,

    Jason Beahm
    Beahm Law
    San Francisco, CA 94107

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