Misdemeanors Aren't Minor
You don’t want a criminal record. It keeps coming up time and time again, it’s embarrassing and it is the type of thing that just stays with you for your whole life. The repercussions of a petty conviction can be anything but minor. Offenses are increasingly punished with hefty fines. A conviction of any kind can cost you a job or prevent you from getting a job. A conviction can affect eligibility for professional licenses, child custody, food stamps, student loans, health care or lead to deportation. In many cities, a misdemeanor makes you ineligible for public housing.
You might recall the case from 2012, where Richard Eggers was fired from his Wells Fargo customer service job after it was found he had a conviction in 1963 for putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a laundromat's washing machine. Eggers was offered his job back in the fall of 2012, but has declined it. He would like to see some of the guidelines changed after what happened to him: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/eggers-refuses-to-return-to-wells-fargo_n_2025298.html
What are Some Examples of Petty Theft?
The most common example of petty theft is where a person steals from a store by placing the merchandise in a pocket or purse. However, many other types of conduct can be classified as petty theft- it doesn’t always have to involve the actual lifting of property.
Some common examples of petty theft:
• “Poppin’ Tags” - Switching price tags on merchandise so that you pay less
• Putting a more valuable item into packaging intended for a less valuable item
• “Eat and Run” or “Dine and Dash”- not paying for food eaten in a restaurant
• “Watch and run”- not paying for movies viewed in a theater
• Eating inside a store and not paying for it
Many people would not consider some of the actions listed above as a theft. However, ignorance of the law is no excuse; just because a person thinks they aren’t committing a theft doesn’t mean that they won’t face criminal charges if they are caught.
If you have been charged with a crime or need a crime expunged from your record, contact an experienced attorney. Don’t let a lapse in judgment affect you for the rest of your life. Learn from it and let a lawyer help you move forward in your growth.