How long can a store wait before charging an employee with petty theft in California? 11 Answers as of December 20, 2010

My daughter stole some money from a drug store she worked at two months ago. This was her first offense, and we were wondering how long the store had to charge her with petty theft.

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
There is a one year statute of limitations for any misdemeanor and a first offense petty theft is such an offense.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
At least a year or more, but the longer they wait the harder to prove their case.

The ONLY advice you should expect to get from here or elsewhere is to exercise your 5th Amendment rights to SHUT UP, and hire an attorney to speak for you. You face charges that could put in in jail/prison, and most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be helpful and cooperative. Unless you know how to
effectively represent yourself in court, hire an attorney who does. If you are serious about hiring counsel, feel free to contact me. It may be possible for your attorney to negotiate an agreement with the store to not prosecute.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/13/2010
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Petty theft is a misdemeanor. In California there is a one year statute of limitations. The store must request a filling by the local DA within one year.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/11/2010
Steven Mandell
Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
The store doesn't charge her, the prosecutor does. And they have 1 year from the date of the event if it's a misdemeanor, and 3 years if it is a felony. Lots of stuff determines which is which.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/10/2010
Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares
Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares | Thomas D. Nares
If the store reports the incident to the police, and the DA gets the case, the DA can charge the offense within a year of the incident.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/10/2010
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    The DA has up until one year to bring criminal charges for petty theft.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    The DA must file misdemeanor charges before one year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    The store cannot charge her, only the prosecutor can. Usually the prosecutor has a year to charge a misdemeanor before prejudice is presumed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2010
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq.
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq. | Tomas M. Flores
    Technically, the store does not necessarily file charges - the county District Attorney's Office files charges.

    Under the law, the statute of limitations for most misdemeanor crimes is one year, however, depending on the facts (like how much money she allegedly stole, and how she stole it), the clock does not start until actual discovery of the crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2010
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    The store can wait up to the statutory limitation set by the legislature in that state. In the state of California, the District Attorney has a 1 year statute of limitations before they can bring a charge for a petty theft. In your case, it is not the drug store that can bring charges, it is the district attorney. If the drug store has talked to the District Attorney or the police, I would consult with an attorney as soon as you can.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/10/2010
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