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Ask AttyDort Your Own Question
AttyDort, Litigation Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 96
Experience:  Criminal and Civil jury trial expeirence; 17 yrs exp in state and federal courts.
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I recently got a ticket petty theft less than $30. I had

Customer Question

I recently got a ticket for 484 petty theft less than $30. I had gotten convicted for tresspassing 12 yeasrs ago but the intial charge was 484 petty theft. My first charge was about 21 years ago. What will the prosecutor charge me with?? Can I drop this charge to a fraction? I'm really scared I dont want to spend jail time, I have kids at home. I unfortunately decided to take food at safeway yet they gave me a ticket for 484 mistameanors.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

I have experience with these cases over 17 years.

This is a case that usually starts as a misdemeanor, and now, turns into an infraction in many cases.

As a misdemeanor, you have a right to a public defender and a jury trial. They may reduce it for you before your first court date. If not, show up on time, ask for a public defender and go from there.

A public defender will know exactly what to do.

If you do not have any other petty theft convictions, your penalties probably will not be enhanced.

Dont worry about misdemeanor trespassing convictions from the past. They are not relevant to your current citation and will not cause a problem. Theft convictions will cause a problem.

This is a case that is also commonly referred to "diversion", which means "deferred judgement" and often results in dismissal when certain classes and conditions are met.

Show up for your court date on time and ask for the public defender if you cannot hire a private attorney early.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do have a 2 prior convictions of petty theft this is the third
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

Well, that is a super important fact.

I wish I was not the one who has to tell you this, but ... with 2 prior convictions, a third petty theft can be charged as a felony and exposes you to prison time.

Prison and jail are not the same thing.

It does not always happen, but that is the danger you face.

You need to get an attorney immediately. If you cannot hire a private attorney of your choice, make sure you show up for your court date on time and ask the court to appoint a public defender to your case before you do anything else.

Diversion will not be available if you have prior convictions of that sort.

I wish I had better news, but that is the correct answer to your question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it possible with the priors to have attorney claim thst I have a compulsive disorder or physcologic disorder which I have been suffering from anxiety and depression given from my living conditions with my husband that is controlling due to culture believes of not letting me work or go to school. He is controlling the financial parts of my life but unfortunately being a mother of 4 kids I naturally insticts to feed my kids which unfortunately made that decision to go take sandwhichs at Safeway. The items are less than $50. I just wanted to explain my situation and the police that came to be at Safeway said to are you not the same girl that called for help one night that you were complaining that your husband was hurting you and using food as his tactics to get you to do what he wants? He said I clearly remember you. He didn't take me to jail and gave me a ticket of 484 mistameanors. My kids need me and mostly my three daughters I dont want them in an arranged marriage and falling into this crazy culture that I have not been able to escape and my heart wouldn't let me due to my 3 daughters. Can you pleae tell me if this is possible to get help for physcologic disorder and due counseling therapy if the courts let me?
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

You need an attorney to handle the case. I cannot evaluate your possible defenses here.

But I can tell you that: "I was legally insane at the time of the incident" is a legal defense.

However, that defense forces a defendant to admit the incident happened, and almost is never successful. It may also result in a loss of custody of your children.

It may not be that bad once you get into court. These things tend to start off a lot worse than they end up.

That is all I can say.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I spoke to an attorney he said given your situation, I can explain it to DA and he said he can possibly get it dismissed and he has over 20 years experience. I dont want to loose custody so I wont plead insanity case. He said given the fact you have not been in trouble since the 12 years. I hope this possible do you think he can dissmiss the charge because it was food also he said?
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

I would charge $750 to take a traffic infraction case. I would start with a trial by declaration, but because almost no one ever wins those, my flat fee would also include the court trial that would follow the trial by declaration.

I am not available to take a case presently (thus I have no competition), and I do not like the Long Beach Courthouse, so I do not take cases there.

But I offer this info to you to make sure you don't get ripped off by someone who does not have a license and promises something a licensed attorney would never promise.

Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

Whatever you do, make sure you do not pay anyone for legal services unless you verify that they are in fact licensed by the state of California to provide legal services.

Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

You can verify the license of a an attorney at My state bar # ***** ***** I have 17+ years of experience in this area, including hundreds of traffic court trials. You can trust what I am telling you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am in Alameda County, in Castro Valley the situation happened. It will be in Hayward or Fremont court house.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Given my case what can you do to help me and what am I looking at to be charged and convicted with? $750, is a great price but are you able to come to Fremont Court House in CA? Can you send me your information if this is possible?
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

Ooppps! Please forgive me! That last entry was meant for another question! I am so sorry.

Forget the $750 comment about Long Beach!

I guess it was sort of applicable here.

Yes it is possible someone could get that dismissed. But I cannot say it will happen.

Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

I am not available to take a case there. If it is an infraction $750 is a common price, so that part is on target.

For a misdemeanor, I would be charging in the range of $1500-3000 so long as no trial is required.

For a felony, I would charge $5000 +

You can tell what you are charged with to start by the citation. It will say M for misdemeanor, I for infraction.

It can only be upgraded to a felony later if that happens.

It may be possible to get a DA to dismiss a case like this. However, I would not get your hopes up because Safeway has surveillance cameras. If they have you on clear video, the case is not going to get dismissed - especially with 2 prior convictions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what can I do? Is this attorney just telling he can get it dismissed ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is jail time prison more likely in my case?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have been charged with a felony, the prior cases I had them expunged and it was 12 years ago that this happened. Given the facts in this case how can you defend me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im sorry they have not charged me with a felony but I hope they dont upgrade the charge.
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

No attorney would be able to give you any details on those points until after the arraignment and after they have reviewed the evidence. At the arraignment, you will find out if they are going to allege prior convictions, and/or amend the charges. The DA may also make a plea agreement offer at that time. Once the evidence is reviewed you will know if they have you on video or not.

Once those things happen, an attorney will know if there is any defense or not, and whether or not you should plead guilty.

That is all I can tell you. I hope it helps.

I am not available to take a case at this time, but I encourage you shop for an attorney that you are comfortable with.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** like place they have video cameras. Thank you for your advice. You are asking how much for my case?
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

I cannot take your case. But I would say, based upon my experience, there are lots of good attorneys that will take a misdemeanor case of this sort for about $1500 - so long as no trial is required. If it turns out that you want a jury trial, most attorneys would charge for that trial by the day.

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