Theft offenses in California span a variety of different alleged crimes that involve taking the property of someone else against their will. From property crimes to white collar offenses, thefts can carry a serious punishment if convicted. If you have been charged with a theft offense, you need legal counsel as you seek to navigate the criminal justice system.
While many theft crimes that are prosecuted still involve things such as shoplifting and robbery, theft is also becoming more high-tech. These days, identity theft and credit card fraud make up a growing percentage of theft crimes in California.
Most theft crimes in California are larcenies. In 2017, these crimes made up almost two-thirds of the property crimes in the state. Larceny is defined as “unlawfully, intentionally, and permanently taking property that belongs to someone else.” After that, burglary is the second most common theft crime in California. This is when the defendant enters a property with the intent to commit a felony such as theft. Finally, auto theft is also another common offense.
Punishment for theft offenses can range from probation or community all the way to long jail times. Defendants who are convicted of felony theft can expect a stiff sentence. If they have been convicted of their third serious felony, they would end up with life in prison under California’s “three strikes” law.
The higher the amount of the theft, the more likely it is that the defendant will be facing serious penalties. When the defendant has stolen something worth more than $950, it is grand theft. Here, the prosecutor has discretion whether to charge the defendant with a felony or misdemeanor. This will greatly impact whether there is a jail sentence and how long it is.
Perhaps the most serious theft offenses in California are robbery and burglary. Depending on the degree of robbery, defendants can face up to nine years in prison. Residential burglary is always a felony and is punishable by up to six years in prison.
Defendants need an attorney even for theft offenses that seem minor. The difference between probation and jail time can be a lawyer who knows how to negotiate with the prosecutor. Your attorney could help you reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor for lesser charges.
At the same time, your attorney may advise you to fight the charges if the evidence against you seems insufficient to secure a conviction. An attorney can identify legal defenses that could show that you did not commit the crime of which you were accused. Having an attorney ready to fight for you sends a message, especially when you hire an attorney with a background in law enforcement.
Contact the firm of DeLimon Law to speak with an experienced attorney who has experience on both sides of criminal cases. Attorney Daniel DeLimon can think about your legal issue from a prosecutor’s perspective, which can make a difference in your defense. Call us today at (951) 777-9104 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.
He has compassion and empathy for all parties as well as one of the sharpest legal minds around. He is a powerhouse in the courtroom; the kind of attorney people stop and listen to. Anyone facing the legal system would be fortunate to have him working for them.
I was facing multiple violent felonies and life in prison. Mr. DeLimon took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES and I was released. I owe him my life.