Theft crimes are some of the most common criminal charges faced by people in California. Under California Penal Code 484, the crime of “theft” includes any action intended to “steal, take, carry .. drive away with personal property” or to obtain such property by “false or fraudulent representation”. In addition, there are many federal laws which prohibit theft through the use of any means that may affect commerce within the borders of the U.S. (e.g. see discussion under White Collar Crimes page).
Theft crimes include the following:
- Petty Theft: Stealing property with a value of $950 or less such as shoplifting or other retail theft.
- Grand Theft: Unlawfully taking property worth more than $950 dollars.
- Fraud: Also know as “theft by false pretenses”, this is defined as “knowingly and designedly by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defrauds another person of money, labor, real or personal property.”
- Embezzlement: Fraudulently misappropriating property entrusted to the defendant by another person for the defendant’s own personal use.
- Burglary: Entering a building or structure with the specific intent to steal property.
- Receiving Stolen Property: Buying, concealing or withholding property known to be stolen.
- Grand Theft Auto: Stealing, taking or driving away an automobile with the intent to deprive the owner of its possession.
- Theft of a Firearm: Usually automatically deemed to be “grand theft” despite value of the gun.
- Misappropriation of Lost Property: Finding lost property, “under circumstances which give knowledge or means of inquiry as to the true owner” and appropriating that property to one’s own use.
- Robbery: The taking of property by use of “force or fear” (see further discussion under Violent Crimes page).
Depending upon many different facts, circumstances and scenarios, any of these crimes can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies and carry punishments ranging from fines to jail or prison time. Defense of these charges ranges from showing a lack of intent to take the property, a dispute in ownership rights in the items, false accusations of stealing and many other arguments to refute the allegations. The prosecution in all criminal cases has the burden of proof to prove all elements of the crime including “intent” beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, deals can sometimes be made to repay the victim restitution as a means to lower a sentence or dismiss the charges.
Read more about theft crimes in the following blog posts:
- Grand Theft vs. Robbery – The Andy Dick Example
- CA Proposition 47 Effect on Theft Crimes
- First Degree Burglary Charges in California
- When Does Shoplifting Become Robbery Under CA Law?
- Embezzlement and Fraud Charges in California
- Medicare Fraud Charges in California
The need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with California law on theft crimes and experienced in defending such charges in both the Superior Court of California and the United States District Court:
At Leib Law, our attorneys have over 20 years of experience. Our knowledge gives us the ability to handle a vast array of criminal matters, including embezzlement, fraud, grand theft auto, burglary, shoplifting and other theft crimes.
For example, our office recently successfully defended a major fraud/embezzlement matter in Riverside where our client was accused of embezzling millions of dollars in a fraud scheme. All of the felony charges were dismissed and no jail time was imposed. These cases can be successfully defended with hard work from an experienced and aggressive law firm like Leib Law. Call us if you are facing allegations of theft in any degree ranging from shoplifting to burglary, fraud or embezzlement, in any court in California including Orange County, Los Angeles, the Riverside, San Bernardino or Ventura Counties or anywhere else in the Golden State.