Since our earliest childhood memory, we have had it embedded into our skills that we should not steal. And yet, in some form or another, we have all stolen something of value at least once in our life. Is "petit theft" in our blood?
At what point do we stop overcrowding our prisons and get habitual thieves the mental help that they so desperately need?
Yesterday, a 42 year-old man with a lengthy history of burglary, robbery and theft charges was arrested in Orange County, in the Waterford Lakes area. He had been robbing Chinese and Latin restaurants since January, with help from a friend who let him borrow a van.
The accused man claims to have an addiction to crack cocaine, which fuels his need to steal from restaurant cash registers...for of course, his crack addiction. Is he not the poster child for "vicious cycle"?
We can't condone his actions (if they are true) but as defense attorneys we need to understand where our clients are coming from. We need to figure out the moment when petit theft morphed into recurrent criminal behavior.
A first time charge for petit theft may lead that person to face a first-degree misdemeanor for thefts over $100, but less than $300. Stealing less than $100 is usually a second-degree misdemeanor.
For someone like the man we highlighted up top, there are several different types of burglary charges that prosecutors can attach. That's why you need a skilled attorney who knows all the different statutes that deal with these charges.
This isn't like when we were kids. Mom isn't going to just slap your hand.