Most people believe that shoplifting won’t land them in serious trouble. Steal a jacket from a store, get caught, pay your dues, you’re fine… right? Wrong. In California, there is a thing known as California Penal Code Section 666 PC, which allows for potential felony charges that can result in prison sentences. To satisfy these elements, however, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant was previously convicted of a theft offense and that he or she served a term in a penal institution for the conviction.
Other Qualifications for California Penal Code Section 666 PC
Having a prior conviction to several codes may not be enough to qualify for California Penal Code Section 666 PC. To have a penalty enhancement, you must meet two other conditions as well. The first is that the defendant must have had three or more prior convictions for offenses such as petty theft, grand theft, grand theft auto, burglary, carjacking, robbery, or receiving stolen property. The second is that the defendant must have had a conviction from that list as well as a sex offense requiring registration, or a previous conviction for a violent felony.
Now that you have some understanding of California Penal Code Section 666 PC, you may want to grasp some possible defenses for Petty Theft. Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed every element included in a crime to prove that it actually took place. Some cases will allow for “affirmative” defenses. These defenses can result in a “not guilty” verdict if the defendant is able to prove that the defense applies. This happens even if the prosecutor can prove that the defendant met each of the elements in the crime.
So what happens if the prosecutor can prove all the elements of Petty Theft? This means that the defendant must prove that one or more justifications for his or her actions existed. Some justifications include permission from the other person, an alibi, the defendant actually owning the property, duress or threats, necessity, accident, being framed, entrapment, and a statute of limitations.
- Permission From the Other Person: Sometimes, an owner may have given specific consent. If you were given permission, you will not be found guilty.
- Alibi: This applies if the defendant was not actually at the scene of the crime and involves witnesses.
- The Defendant Owned the Property: If you believed the property belonged to you, then you are not guilty. This will show that it was not your intent to take the property.
- Duress/Threats: This comes into play if the defendant was forced or threatened to take the property against their own will or better judgment.
- Necessity: The defendant may not be found guilty if he or she acted because of legal necessity. This could include a case where the defendant acted in an emergency to prevent significant bodily harm.
- Accident: Evidence must support your legal position if you believe it was an accident. An example is being distracted and accidentally walking out of the store.
- Being Framed: In this situation, you were wrongly accused so that somebody else would not get in trouble for the crime.
- Entrapment: This applies in a situation where law enforcement provides opportunities for a suspected criminal to commit a crime. If they were held against their will and made to commit a crime, entrapment occurred.
- Statute of Limitations: This is a law, which forbids prosecutors from charging someone with a crime that was committed some time ago. The statute of limitations in California for Petty Theft is one year.
If you believe you have a case against somebody due to any of the above reasons, you may want to consult with an attorney that you can trust. Call The Blair Law Firm today for a consultation on your case. You may apply for an affirmative defense if you truly believe that you were framed, that the theft was an accident, or many other reasons. Call today!