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Many good people make bad mistakes and wind up committing Theft Offenses, most notably Petty Theft (i.e. Shoplifting).
Most Thefts at or under $950 in California are prosecuted under Penal Code section 484. A first time Petty Theft conviction can carry up to 6 months in jail. More realistic, however, is the fact you will be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, which may haunt you and your employment prospects for years to come.
A qualified San Diego Criminal Lawyer should adopt a Dual Track Approach in all criminal cases, but most notably when hired to defend a client accused of Petty Theft. Your Criminal Lawyer should simultaneously review the avenues of defense of the charge(s) while advising the client on what they can do to minimize the damage already done.
Consider enrolling in, and completing, a one-day anti-theft course. Compile letters in support of your otherwise good character from family, friends, and co-workers. Finally, let your San Diego Criminal Lawyer know of any past or present psychological problems or concerns you may have. It may not make the case go away through diversion or an outright dismissal, but such examples of a criminal defendant being proactive can only help your criminal lawyer and your case.