Use caution in accepting plea offers in petty theft cases.
Two class A Misdemeanor property crime convictions on your record (such as Theft II, Criminal Mischief II, Forgery II, for example) can become “predicate offenses” for a mandatory prison sentence in a future felony property crime.
Oregon’s laws governing property crime are very broad, and many times it is possible for minor conduct to be charged as a felony. It is important to be represented by an attorney who understands the details of the law. For example, Identity Theft is sometimes mis-charged in cases in which there is insufficient evidence of key elements of the offense.
In petty theft cases, prosecutors may offer what seem like great plea bargains, but use caution: two misdemeanor convictions for property offenses, including Criminal Mischief (which can be alleged for accidentally causing property damage) will qualify a person for a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 18-24 months on any future felony property crime.