I have been charged with petty theft in California — Am I eligible for a dismissal?

If you have been charged with misdemeanor petty theft in California, you may able to get your case dismissed if you can convince the retailer to agree to a civil compromise under California Penal Code sections 1377/1378.  The civil compromise must be approved by the judge, who has the power to reject any such compromise.  If you have questions about whether you are potentially eligible for a civil compromise dismissal, you should contact a criminal defense attorney.

If you do qualify and the retailer agrees to the compromise, it must be shown to the judge that you have paid all costs incurred by the victim as a result of the offense.  You must also present evidence in court that the retailer has agreed to a civil compromise of the theft.  The judge has discretion to either reject or accept any such compromise.

Although it may be tempting to try to negotiate a civil compromise on your own behalf without the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, this is not a good idea.  Any statements you make to the retailer can be used against you in court because those statements are not protected by any privilege.  This makes it even more important to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you with your potential civil compromise.  Further, although the statute does not give the prosecutor the ability to contest the dismissal, if your lawyer can get the District Attorney on board with the compromise the judge may be more willing to agree to the dismissal.

If you or a loved one is facing a misdemeanor petty theft charge, it is imperative that you have a criminal defense attorney review your case to see if you are eligible for a Penal Code 1377/1378 dismissal.  The attorneys at the X-Law Group, P.C. handle petty theft and other cases in all of Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. If you would like more information on civil compromise dismissals, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We offer free consultations and affordable payment plans.  Give us a call at 213-223-2232 and visit our website at http://www.thexlawgroup.com/.

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