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Can Petty Theft Charges Be Dropped? 

We are going to be looking at can petty theft charges be dropped. This is a common topic as it can happen to anyone. Sometimes people who are not even guilty can be charged with petty theft. That is why we are going to look at if petty theft charges can be dropped. 

What Is Petty Theft Exactly?

Petty theft is a crime that is considered a lower level theft crime. However, if a dollar amount is stolen that is above a certain threshold, Louisiana state law can charge the crime as a felony. You can read more about theft charges in this blog post here.

Generally speaking, petty theft is a crime that often occurs during shoplifting or other such situations. It is defined as a crime during which a person’s property is stolen without consent from the individual. Shoplifting at Walmart is a great example of petty theft which can result in some serious penalties.

different types of theft charges and how a lawyer can help
Petty Theft

Different Ways to Get Petty Theft Dropped 

There are three separate ways for petty theft charges to be dropped. Keep in mind that it is important that you are able to convince the victim that you are innocent. If you can do this, then the victim will drop the charges. However, there are a few other ways in which that petty theft can be dropped. This includes through pretrial diversion, plea bargain, or somehow prove your innocence. Let us get into some more detail about what each topic means.

PRO TIP: Take a look at this post to learn more about target shoplifting and what you need to know.

Pretrial Diversion 

This is something that people do that have petty crimes against them. This is the method many people will use to get charges dropped. Keep in mind that each program will be different. However, they will all follow the same process. The process is as follows: 

  • The defendant takes a guilty plea. 
  • The sentence is suspended by the judge. 
  • The offender completes in the diversion program
    • Prosecution will drop charges. 
    • Case will be dismissed. 

Keep in mind that the diversion program will be geared to the offense. Programs that are going to be dealt to those who have committed petty crime could include any of the following:

  • Paying off Fine 
  • Paying Any Fees for Programs 
  • Victim Gets Restitution 
  • Community Service 
  • Comply with all laws and any restraining orders. 

It is important to keep in mind that not all states will offer this option. It is also important to take note that this will not apply to more serious crimes. You cannot use this for something such as violence or possession of drugs. 

It is also important that you meet a few requirements for this as well. The rules for this are pretty strict. The following rules must be met in order to qualify:

  • You must only have this offense. You must not have any other offenses. 
  • You should not be a threat to society or yourself. 
  • You are not facing a violent offense. Your crime is small. 

Plea Bargain 

The next thing that you can do is accept a plea bargain with the victim or courts that allows the charges to be dropped. This can often be done with restitution being paid. Often, people will admit to the crime and the charges will get dropped. 

It is important that you know this is only applicable if the theft was a low-pricing item. If you steal over a certain amount, it becomes something more serious. There is a specific threshold that each state has. If you have stolen less than the threshold for your state, you will be able to plead guilty and have the charges dropped. You will face fines; however, you will not have to be charged with theft on your record. 

how long in jail for theft
How long you go to jail for theft depends on many variables.

Proof of Innocence 

This is going to be the best and easiest way to drop your charges. If you are being charged with petty theft, it is often non-existent. If you are able to show the district attorney assigned to your case that you are innocent, they cannot proceed with a charge. Then charges will have to be dropped. There is no evidence for them to convict you.

In addition to this, it is often the case that someone could unintentionally leave a store with an item and not realize it and thus be charged with shoplifting. This often happens when items are placed in a the lower portion of a shopping cart or if an item is placed in a purse for the convenience of carrying it but not to intentionally steal.

In such cases, the question then becomes, why would store security assume that you, the victim in such a circumstance, have attempted to steal an item from a store? This can open a whole other can of worms if your lawyer brings up a valid argument.

Your lawyer will use evidence such as the following to help prove your innocence: 

  • You/the accused was not at the crime scene. 
  • False allegations were made. 
  • Someone else did the theft.
  • Your intentions were to pay for the item but you forgot.

CONCLUSION: Can Petty Theft Charges Be Dropped?

If you are charged with petty theft, this is not the end of the world. In most cases, you are innocent anyway. There is nothing to fear if you can prove that you are innocent and if you hire a great theft lawyer to help with your charges. This is the easiest way to ensure that your record stays clean. However, you can use the other methods to help you out as well if you are unable to prove without a doubt that you are innocent. We hope you now know how to answer can petty theft charges be dropped with ease.


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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