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What is Petty Theft?


What is Petty Theft (Penal Code section 484)?

Petty theft is also known as “Theft by Larceny”. It is a violation of California Penal Code, § 484.

The elements of the crime are:

1. The defendant took possession of property owned by someone else

2. The defendant took the property without the owner’s consent

3. When the defendant took the property (he/she) intended to either deprive the owner of it permanently or for so much time that it would deprive the owner of of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

4. The defendant moved the property, even a small distance, and kept it for any period of time, however brief.

Taking someone’s cell phone to make a call or to stop them from making a call might be a battery or other crime but it is probably not a theft. Also, the property taken must have some intrinsic value, however slight.

Daniel Horowitz is a criminal defense specialist. If you are charged with petty theft he can work to protect your reputation and have the charge reduced or eliminated.