Under California Penal Code Section 666 petty theft with a prior is described as follows: “Every person who has been convicted of three or more times of petty theft, grand theft, auto theft, burglary, carjacking, robbery, or a felony violation resulting in serving time in jail is convicted of petty theft”. Thus for be sentenced to penalties for petty theft with a prior under PC Section 666, defendant must first had conviction of California petty theft penal code 484 and 488.
Elements of Penal Code 666 Petty Theft with a Prior
Prosecution must establish the following elements for convicting the defendant of the petty theft with a prior under Penal Code 666:
- Defendant had prior convictions for a theft crime for which he served jail or prison time
- Defendant also had a conviction for a violent or serious California crime for which he served time in prison or jail
Qualifying theft crimes include: grand theft (including grand theft with a firearm) auto theft, carjacking, burglary and robbery.
To get conviction of petty theft with a prior the defendant must also have a conviction for any of the below mentioned offenses, additionally to a theft crime conviction.
- Theft or fraud of an elderly person in violation of California elder abuse laws under Penal Code Section 368
- Prior sex crime convictions with the requirement to register as a sex offender under Penal Code Section 290
- A prior conviction for one of a serious or violent felonies, such as
- Gross vehicular manslaughter
- Murder or attempted murder
- Sex crimes with a child under 14 years old
- Sex crimes committed through the use of force or fear
- Assault with a machine gun on a peace officer
- Possession of a weapon of mass destruction
- Solicitation to commit murder
- Any other felony punishable by life in prison or the death penalty
Proposition 47’s Reform
Prior to proposition 47, three prior convictions for different theft crimes could lead to a felony sentence of sixteen months to three years for a conviction on a new charge.
But, proposition 47 has changed the law so that most of the cases with three prior theft convictions will remain misdemeanors. Exceptions are the following:
- Prior convictions for California PC Section 368(d) or (e) elder abuse
- In case the defendant is required to register as a sex offender.
Legal Defenses to California Penal Code Section 666 Charges
Legal defenses to California Penal Code Section 666 charges include
- No intent to steal
Intent is one of the key elements that must be proved for convicting defendant of a theft crime. In case the defendant didn’t not intent to steal the property he is not guilty of petty theft.
- Consent from the owner
In case the owner of the property gave the defendant a permission to take the property, he can’t be found guilty of petty theft.
- Defendant had a reasonable belief that the property belonged to him
In case the property actually belonged to the defendant or if he reasonably but mistakenly believed that the property belonged to him, he is not guilty of petty theft.
Penalties for a California Penal Code Section 666 Conviction
Penalties for a California Penal Code Section 666 conviction include
In California law petty theft with a prior conviction is a wobbler and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case facts and the defendant’s criminal history.
- Defendant will get up to one year in county jail for misdemeanor conviction.
- Defendant will get sixteen months, two or three year’s term in California State prison for felony conviction
Glendale Petty Theft Lawyer
Our Glendale petty theft lawyers can help you defend your penal code 666 charges. Call our office at (310) 943-1171 or contact us via email at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with a Glendale criminal defense attorney. Our lawyers in Glendale, Los Angeles, CA, are highly dedicated to serving to needs of our clients.