Will I have to go to jail for a misdemeanor of petty theft? 61 Answers as of August 24, 2012

I have previously been charged with a misdemeanor of petty theft, and now I am being charged with a misdemeanor of petty theft once again. Is there a chance that I will be sent to jail for what I have done, or is there a chance that I will be given a fine and/or probation?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
You don't indicate what disposition was made in your prior case. If you were previously convicted in the same court where you are now being charged the chances are pretty good that you will get jail time.

If the prior case was your first conviction and you have not learned anything from whatever sentence you received in that case it is unlikely that the judge will not take your criminal history into consideration in disposing of this case.

It is my opinion based upon many years of practicing law that you would be very lucky if you got a fine or probation.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2012
Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
You face jail time, plus fines. Probation may also be an option.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/20/2012
Toivonen Law Office | John Toivonen
The penalties for theft depend upon the value of the property stolen. If a person steals $200 to $999 the maximum penalty is 1 year in jail. If a person steals less than $200, the maximum penalty is 93 days in jail.

These maximum sentences are rarely given to someone with a fairly clean record. If you have a clean record and you hire a good attorney, you might be able to get probation with no jail time.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/15/2012
Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
Most first offense we can get diversion. On a second or subsequent offense without any history normally it is a fine and court costs.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 8/15/2012
Anderson Law Office
Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
Yes there is a chance. Whenever you commit the same offense twice the court and/or prosecutor do not look at with lenience. Please seek representation asap.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/15/2012
    MatthewR. Schutz, Esq | Matthew R. Schutz
    While unlikely, its a possibility. Being a repeat offender is not a plus. Depends on how strict the judge is.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    Depends on the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Before the law changed a second petty theft was a petty theft with a prior. That was a felony. Now it takes three petty thefts to make the forth into a felony. In your case depending upon several facts you should get off with probation and community service.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    Answers depend on other questions. In what city did it allegedly happen? What was stolen? What is the evidence? What was your prior case about?
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Depending on what you stole, and factors in aggravation or mitigation, you probably will be sentenced to probation, if there are no more aggravating factors than what you stated. However, you stand a chance of serving jail time or getting a term of community service. Hire a good defense lawyer for the best resolution of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Every crime carries potential jail sentence. Having a prior increases that risk. The honest answer is that no attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, expected testimony, priors history, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Yep - up to 1 year and a $25,00 fine.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    If you have nothing more than two minor, misdemeanor thefts, it is unlikely that you will go to jail, assuming that you have even adequate legal counsel.

    Despite this, I still strongly suggest that you hire good defense counsel. You sound like a young person with a long life ahead of you (if I am wrong I apologize).

    If I am right, it means that there is more future in front of you than past behind you. You do not want to take this lightly and build a record of convictions. It will become harder and harder to stay out of jail each time.

    Therefore, every case should be taken seriously. You should try to avoid a conviction here, even if no jail will follow. A record of convictions will make employment, education and even some living conditions difficult. Hire a good lawyer and try to avoid a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    You might. Sentencing depends on the seriousness of the offense, your record, mitigation, and the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    If this is your second offense, it is possible that you could face a short jail sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Christopher R. Smitherman, LLC | Christopher R. Smitherman
    Could go either way. Your criminal history is considered when determining the appropriate punishment. The maximum for a misdemeanor charge is 1 year in the county jail.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    So long as you are not on probation you will not go to jail but you may receive a suspended sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Lee Law Group | Ernest Lee
    Friend: Its possible. It depends on your prior criminal record and the facts of the case. You should hire counsel to speak for you and try to ensure that you get probation and not jail time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Patricia M. Corrales
    Law Offices of Patricia M. Corrales | Patricia M. Corrales
    If you were charged with petty theft with a prior then there is likelihood that the Deputy DA will ask for some jail time 30 days maybe even more. But, there is a possibility that you can still get probation with no jail time. It really depends on several factors and your prior conviction for the same offense is not a favorable factor; moreover, it shows you can not comply with your probationary terms. It is best that you consult with a criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    Either one could happen. Both also could happen.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    I believe that a good lawyer could obtain Probation and Restitution for you and possibly an agreement that you not return to that store.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Probation. Next one incarceration.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    All are possible. It depends on many factors including the county where the case is located; the value of the property; how soon since last case, etc. The DA will be less likely to want to give you leniency because of prior case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A theft offense can be very serious. A conviction would leave an indelible mark on your record and it can impact future employment and other opportunities. As a result, an aggressive defense is necessary. There is no petty charge under Minnesota law unless certified as a petty. As a misdemeanor offense, a theft under $500 is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a 41000 fine. Often. if you have a clean record and/or viable defenses, you may be able to avoid a conviction with a Stay of Prosecution which, upon completion of certain conditions, may result in a dismissal of the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Moriarty & Associates, PLLC | Patrick M. Moriarty
    In Washington State, the charge of third degree theft is a gross misdemeanor. It is punishable by a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $5000m fine. It is possible to the jail sentence second offense but it is by no means a certainty. It is always advisable to hire counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Peacock & Le Beau | Jeffery O. Le Beau
    There is always a chance to get probation in most cases. But even with probation you could be sentenced up to 6 month in jail and if your case is filed as a petty theft with a prior it could be carry up to a year as a misdemeanor and up to 3 years state prison as a felony. Normally prosecutors would not be requesting jail time for a petty theft. But the prior complicates things. Prosecutors will look at when the crimes occurred, any other convictions you have and the nature of the loss among other factors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Certainly jail is a possibility for a second offense of anything. Get a good local lawyer on board now.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The second minor offense makes a jail sentence something to worry about. Probation is very doable with the right attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Maybe, depends on the circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com
    LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
    Hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. He or she can probably negotiate a plea bargain, but yes, since you have a prior conviction, it's very likely you'll have to do probation.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Your second bite at the apple may cost you some jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
    If you plead to a 2nd Petty Theft under Penal Code 484(a)-488, you will have to serve a mandatory 1 day in jail. This is, in large part, due to Penal Code /s 666 which provides that if you are convicted three or more times of petty theft, grand theft, auto theft, burglary, carjacking, robbery, or a felony violation of receiving stolen property, and you are required to serve at least one day in custody as a result of each of those convictions, if at any time in the future you are charged with a petty theft, that charge can be filed as a felony with a maximum punishment of up to 3 years in county jail, pursuant to Penal Code 666. You should try to see if the DA will go for a different charge, such as a 490.1 or a 602(k) (trespass). This is a pretty stiff sentence for a candybar, or some clothes or makeup.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    On a second offense, the probability of some jail time is significantly increased. Get an attorney NOW.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Phil Shekerlian
    Law Offices of Phil Shekerlian | Phil Shekerlian
    It depends on if you are still on probation. If not, then the maximum sentance does carry jail time, but a good attorney should be able to keep you out of it. If you are on probation, then a good attorney might able to keep you out depending on the circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    VALENTE SCHARG & ASSOCIATES | DEAN VALENTE
    That is entirely up to the sentencing judge...a 93 day misd. is just that a misd punishable by up to 93 days in jail, and/or up to 2 years probation and/or up to a $500 fine plus costs...so you can get any or part or all.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of John T Doyle
    Law Offices of John T Doyle | John T. Doyle, Esq.
    A jail term is a possibility depending on all the factors involved in your situation.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    It is hard to say whether you will be sentenced to jail or be fined and allowed to be on probation. A lot of it depends on how long ago the 1st offense was, whether it was in the same jurisdiction as your present case, your criminal history in general, the judge and D.A. in your present case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Clinton Law Office | Michael Clinton
    That will depend on a number of factors and is ultimately up to the judge. There are no guarantees but legal representation will certainly improve your chances a great deal.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Absolutely. Petty theft with a prior can be filed as a felony, which means state prison (much worse than county jail).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This will depend upon how long ago the first case was, the judge and the specific facts of this case. The second case will have the potential of some jail time, but most likely you would have probation.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    Yes to chances on all three possibilities: Jail, probation or fine or any combination of the three.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    There is no way of predicting the outcome of your case but a second theft conviction could result in a short jail sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Herschel Bullen
    Herschel Bullen | Herschel Bullen
    Probation is not completely out of the question. But it is likely you will get some jail time. If you could do, or be in, some sort of treatment program before you get sentenced it would help.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    It depends on a lot of factors, including what was taken, who it was taken from, who the Judge is, who the Prosecutor is - I suggest you consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    There's always a chance of being sent to jail for any crime other than an infraction. Whether you end up there or not really depends on your lawyer. You should consult one right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Fagan, Fagan & Davis
    Fagan, Fagan & Davis | Steven H. Fagan
    Misdemeanor theft in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor offense, and is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to $2500 in fines plus court costs.

    Jail is always a possibility, but the facts and circumstances will determine whether it is a probability, and that is something you should discuss with your attorney, assuming you have one. If you do not, you should.

    A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    Anytime one is arrested for any crime there is a chance they might be incarcerated. The fact that this is your second go around may increase that possibility. However, many factors are taken into consideration by the court including, but not limited to, one's prior criminal record, employment status, family status, background (veterans, for example), the position of the victim, and much more. Advice: contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can properly advocate for a non jail sentence, such as a fine, or community service.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    With one incident, I would say the likelihood of jail was minimal, but with another, the court may figure that you have not learned your lesson and that jail time may be in order.

    A misdemeanor petty theft (sounds like shop lift), is punishable by up to a year in jail. You may also have a problem with your prior case.

    If the prior incident occurred less than two years prior to this one, it is quite possible that you are still on probation for that first case.

    If so, this new case would be a "violation of the law", which could result in you having to appear on the first case as well because you have not complied with the terms and conditions of your sentence. Such being the case, you could go to jail on that case as well.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    If convicted, yes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    Sentencing on a misdemeanor charge is at the sole discretion of the judge. Every criminal offense has a statutory maximum jail term. It is left to the judge to determine whether or not to send a person convicted of a misdemeanor to jail, or simply place them on probation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Probation is more likely than jail, but this depends upon the prosecutor and the judge as well as the negotiating ability of your attorney. After a few petit theft convictions subsequent ones turn into felonies and people do actually go to prison for stealing a loaf of bread.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Theft + Theft = jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    You will probably be required to do at least 1 day jail. (The DA or the Judge may want more time depending on the circumstances). The one day jail makes it a prior conviction and with a prior a DA can charge petty theft with a prior which can be a felony and send you to prison.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Jennifer L. Gottschalk, Esq. | Jennifer Gottschalk
    It depends upon when and where the other offense occurred. The court could choose to put you in jail. You are calling it "petty" theft which I assume means theft less than $200. If you have committed shoplifting, the penalties can be enhanced, with a third offense requiring jail for 90 days.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2012
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney