Law Office of Hieu Vu Logo

Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County: Protecting Your Future from Shoplifting Convictions

Defendant who will be helped out by an Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County

Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County

Introduction to Petty Theft Legal Services

I’m Hieu Vu, a Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County, California, focusing defending individuals against the consequences of petty theft convictions. My experience includes handling hundreds of cases in locations like South Coast Plaza, Sephora, Fry’s, Costco, and Target with successful outcomes. Having an experienced Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County can be crucial in determining whether you face penalties or achieve a dismissal.

Understanding Petty Theft Charges in Orange County

Petty theft, under California law, involves taking someone else’s property without consent, intending to deprive the owner permanently or for an extended period. Most people are charged under Penal Code 484-488 for these actions.

The Legal Process and Your Rights

In Orange County, punishments for petty theft vary but rarely lead to jail time. Typically, convictions result in probation and fines. In more severe cases involving larger amounts, the risk of jail time increases, especially in felony theft cases.

Defining Petty Theft and Its Consequences

Petty theft is defined by taking possession of property owned by someone else without their consent, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. Moving the property, however small the distance, and keeping it for any period, however brief, constitutes theft.

The Impact of Petty Theft Charges on Your Life

Charges of moral turpitude, like petty theft, are taken seriously due to their nature against community standards of justice and honesty. Such convictions can significantly affect employment opportunities, overshadowing other types of crimes in terms of employability.

Professional License and Petty Theft

A petty theft conviction can hinder the process of obtaining professional licenses, such as in law, real estate, or nursing. It’s crucial to address these issues during the licensing process to avoid delays.

Defending Against Petty Theft Charges

There are several defenses against petty theft and shoplifting charges. These include lack of intent to steal, especially if the item was not removed from the store, or proving the item belonged to you, supported by evidence like receipts.

Using a Clean Record to Your Advantage

A clean criminal record can be instrumental in dismissing a petty theft case. Regardless of the circumstances, having a competent Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County can help mitigate the collateral consequences of a conviction.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Choosing the right petty theft attorney in Orange County is vital. A skilled lawyer can navigate the complexities of the legal system, from negotiating with prosecutors to presenting a strong defense in court.

Civil and Criminal Ramifications of Shoplifting

Civil demands from department stores following shoplifting incidents are common, but the consensus among Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County is often to contest these demands. Legally, these do not impact the criminal charges and are typically aimed at capitalizing on the fear of legal repercussions.

Avoiding Long-Term Impacts

A petty theft conviction leads to a criminal record, which can be expunged later. However, until then, it can pose significant challenges, particularly in employment. Understanding the nuances of shoplifting laws and their varied consequences across different jurisdictions is crucial for a proper defense strategy.

Navigating Complex Charges

Beyond petty theft, additional charges like burglary or robbery can complicate the situation, especially if force or sophisticated methods were used in the shoplifting incident. These can result in more severe penalties, including substantial jail time.

What specific experience do you have in handling petty theft cases in Orange County?

My firm has been handling petty theft cases in Orange County for over a decade, possibly a decade and a half. I have spoken with hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have shoplifted throughout Orange County. I’ve represented individuals from various parts of Orange County, whether they were stealing from Sephora at South Coast Plaza, Kohls in South County, a Costco in Fullerton or Tustin Marketplace. I am also familiar with cases involving Disneyland. I know every venue and have seen every variation of shoplifting. Most importantly, I am familiar with the courts, the procedures of the local district attorney’s office, and the Anaheim City Attorney’s office regarding shoplifting, and will use this knowledge to your advantage.

How does California law define petty theft, and what are the usual penalties?

California law’s definition of shoplifting is straightforward. The usual penalties include a conviction on your criminal record, up to six months in jail, and a $1000 fine. Although jail time is highly unlikely, a conviction, criminal record, and some fines are typical. In many cases, classes may also be required, especially for first-time shoplifting offenders.

What impact can a petty theft conviction have on my professional life and job prospects?

Employers often frown upon individuals caught shoplifting. In many cases, their applications are overlooked in favor of someone with a similar background. Professionally, shoplifting indicates a level of dishonesty and untrustworthiness. This is particularly problematic in fields dealing with money or positions requiring a high level of trust. The repercussions of a petty theft conviction can often be more damaging than the actual probation and conviction.

Can a petty theft conviction affect my ability to obtain or maintain professional licenses?

Yes, a petty theft conviction can impact your professional license. Many professional licensing agencies consider a petty theft conviction seriously. If not disclosed during the application process, it can delay obtaining the license and potentially lead to probationary conditions. Fields particularly impacted by petty theft convictions include law, real estate, and nursing.

How can my clean criminal record be used to my advantage in a petty theft case?

A clean criminal record can be advantageous in your petty theft case in the Orange County Superior Court. During pretrial negotiations with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, a clean record can illustrate that your situation may be a one-off. We can present you as someone who made a mistake once and is unlikely to reoffend, which they sometimes refer to as ‘one free bite at the apple.

What is the significance of civil demands from department stores in shoplifting cases?

In your shoplifting case, you may receive a Civil Demand letter either at the store or mailed to you later. This letter might suggest that paying it will resolve your court case. However, it only absolves you of the civil side; paying the civil demand letter has no effect on the criminal case. The only exception is if you reach an agreement with the store for a civil compromise relevant to the criminal case, and you must list the code there. Without such an agreement, merely paying the civil demand letter will not make the case go away.

What are the potential additional charges beyond petty theft, and how do they affect the complexity of my case?

Additional charges beyond petty theft may arise if multiple incidents of shoplifting are discovered, or if the amount exceeds $950, which could lead to charges of grand theft, a felony. Felony charges can involve 16 months to three years in jail. However, most petty theft cases do not escalate to felonies. Furthermore, if an altercation occurs during the theft and force is used to escape, the charge could escalate to robbery.


As a Petty Theft Attorney in Orange County, my goal is to protect your rights and minimize the impact of a petty theft charge on your life. Whether it’s negotiating a diversion program or challenging the charges head-on, having the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Let’s Talk About You

Let’s Talk About You Fight Your case and get Representation in Court.

Hand down the best attorney I have ever worked with!!! My friend recommended Hieu because I needed to expunge something I did when I was young and dumb. Hieu is very humble, personable, and made me feel very comfortable. He's surprisingly funny too. Something not all lawyers are / can do. His pricing is very reasonable and he updated me on everything frequently. I highly recommend him!!!!

Lila K

I had interviewed many attorneys to discuss my very unfortunate situation that was set by someone I knew. Hieu Vu was the most honest, caring, and professional attorney with compassion and empathy I ever interviewed. HE REALLY HAD A HEART. His fees were very reasonable and he will fight for you not just for your dollars but because he cares for his clients... I would strongly recommend him if you feel your life is upside down. Things happen but we learn to become better person.

Mark K

Tell Your side of the Story

There's always more to one side of a story. It's important that your site gets heard.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest