Petty Theft

Theft and shoplifting are growing problems in California. Theft is broken up into two categories to determine what someone is going to be charged with. Petty theft is when the value of the property is up to $950; grand theft is anything over $950. If someone is caught shoplifting, the value of the items they stole, or are attempting to steal, determine whether the person is charged with petty theft, a misdemeanor, or grand theft, a felony.

Bail and Petty Theft

When a person gets arrested and charged with a crime, they have a right to obtain bail. The amount of bail varies based on the crime committed and the individual’s past criminal history. This helps to ensure that individuals can work and care for their family while they await trial. This also allows them to properly seek council and work to defend themselves against these charges. Most individuals work with a bail bonds company once bail is set by the courts.

A bail bondsman is someone that works with the courts to have the defendant released from custody pending the trial of the crime that was committed. Most bail bonds company charge an individual 10 to 15 percent of the bond amount to post bail, whereas the courts require the full amount of the bond to be posted. For example, if the bond was set at $5,000, a defendant could post the full $5,000 with the court, or pay a bondsman $500 to $750 to post bail on their behalf. If bond is posted by the defendant, the defendant will receive the full amount of their bond back when charges are dropped or the defendant is sentenced. If a bail bondsman post bond, the defendant will not receive any money back from the bondsman, as they are paying the fee for the bondsman to post their bond.


If an individual is found guilty of petty theft, they can receive up to one year in a county jail. A fine will also be imposed. The fine for a first time offender of petty theft from a merchant is anywhere between $50 and not to exceed more than $1,000. To obtain additional information on California petty theft and shoplifting laws you can go here: If an individual is found guilty of grand theft, restitution in the amount of the items stolen, plus court costs, can be ordered. The individual can also be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Petty and grand theft are two similar, yet different crimes. The value of the items stolen dictate which crime a defendant will be charged with. In such cases, it is always wise to seek out legal council for the defendant to ensure they are being treated fairly and being charged with the appropriate crime. A lot of variables can change the case and that can affect if the individual is found guilty or innocent and of which crime.