Law Offices of George Kita

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What do you do if you or a loved one has been arrested for shoplifting or theft? Step 1 is to call trusted & experienced Los Angeles Theft Attorney to see if you may qualify for early intervention options.

New laws allow consideration of expanded solutions in theft cases.

AB 2124 (Penal Code section 1001.94) moves forward a new pretrial diversion program in LA County, allowing judges, over the prosecutor’s objection, to defer sentencing, & allow suitable candidates, upon successful completion of requirements, consideration for future dismissal.

You can read about this program at: Los Angeles Diversion Program.

I focus substantial time on 1st-time petty theft cases, making efforts to steer cases away from court whenever possible, and into "City Attorney Diversion" & Alternative Prosecution Program (APPS).

Diversion/APPS may result in dismissal, as you can see in this webpage at: Los Angeles Theft Attorney.

Call now, & find out what theft case strategies may help you, at 213-400-5355.

Common Los Angeles Theft Charges

Theft is the unlawful taking of property with intent to keep it permanently. These crimes include: grand theft, petty theft, employee theft, and burglary.

Proposition 47 dramatically changes theft law, as you will read, below. Your attorney can explain the specific changes, and how they apply to your case.

Frequently occurring types of theft cases are:

Grand Theft
Petty Theft/Shoplifting

Cases are generally evaluated based on the value of the property taken, surrounding circumstances, and the underlying cause of the theft crime:

Grand Theft

California Penal Code section 487 (Grand Theft) now requires an accusation of more than $950. This type of theft may be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony, at the discretion of the prosecutor, depending on criminal history, case circumstances, & filing policies.

Grand theft cases may result in significant jail time.

Petty Theft/Shoplifting

Petty Theft, Penal Code section 490.2, now applies to cases involving $950 or less, and may involve theft of money, labor, real or personal property.While these cases are commonly called "petty theft" or "shoplifting," shoplifting is now defined as a more serious crime in Penal Code section 459a. Your attorney can explain these distinctions.

Repeated petty theft cases previously resulted in felony charges. New law only allows for misdemeanor filings, except in extraordinary cases.

A misdemeanor theft conviction can result in up to a year in jail, as well as fines of $1,000 plus penalty assessment and fees.

Petty Theft Alternatives

Many prosecuting agencies in LA County offer a 1st-time offender program for shoplifting cases if the value is less than $75. These programs are not highly publicized, and many of these options must be requested immediately after a person is arrested, prior to a case being filed in court.

If a case has been filed in Los Angeles County, some prosecuting agencies may be willing to offer an infraction theft charge, Penal Code section 490.1, if the item[s] taken was valued at $50 or less.

An infraction conviction may still present substantial problems in the future (employment, immigration, licensing), so it is important to be represented by a Petty Theft Attorney in Los Angeles.


Penal Code section 459, Burglary, is generally filed when a person enters a structure intending to steal. Burglary of a residence is always filed as a felony, & is considered the most serious of these cases.

Commercial (business) burglary may be filed as a felony if the amount exceeds $950.

Penal Code section 459a, Shoplifting, a misdemeanor, now applies to “burglary” conduct. This new law defines a violation if there is entry into a business (open during regular business hours) with the intent to steal property not exceeding $950.

An effective attorney will request the DA or City Prosecutor to consider less-serious misdemeanors or other alternatives, whenever possible.


If you have been accused of theft or shoplifting you need a trusted and experienced Los Angeles Theft Attorney who understands effective and innovative approaches - one who emphasizes creative resolutions for his clients, and provides personal attention.

I understand how a theft case, such as shoplifting, can have long-term consequences, such as a bar to future employment, & significant immigration consequences for non-citizens. I work tirelessly for clients with these cases, focusing on all available alternatives.

Call now, 213-400-5355, to learn your options!

If your case is in the SFV, see resources at: San Fernando Valley Shoplifting Attorney and Burbank Shoplifting Attorney.

*Theft-related resolutions depend on specific case details.

Los Angeles Theft