The range of theft offenses is substantial, as is the range of penalties. There is also a good deal of overlap among the many theft charges. This means that you could be facing a more serious charge than you might expect. This is no time to try to take on the criminal justice system on your own. You need accurate and honest legal advice as you move through the process.
There are numerous offenses that fall under the broad category of theft. Some are classified according to the value of the property allegedly stolen. In other cases, the classification is a function of the type of property involved. In still others, the circumstances and behavior alleged will affect the particular charge you may be facing. The following are some of many theft charges in California:
In a typical theft case, where the value of the property is not more than $950, you will generally be facing a misdemeanor charge. And if the value is under $50, it could be merely an infraction. The misdemeanor charge will carry a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.
When you unlawfully take property entrusted to you for the benefit of someone else, you have committed embezzlement. While most charges of this type are classified according to the value of the property taken, there are exceptions. One such exception is embezzlement of public funds, which is a felony regardless of the amount of money in question.
Entering into premises with the intent to commit larceny or any felony, except in the case of shoplifting, constitutes burglary. Burglary in the first degree occurs where the premises is an inhabited dwelling or vessel. It is a felony. All other types of burglary are classified as burglary in the second degree, which is a wobbler.
This usually involves property valued at more than $950. Grand theft is generally a wobbler, meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In the latter case, it could carry a sentence of incarceration for up to three years. In addition, regardless of the value of the property involved, certain theft offenses are always considered grand theft. Among these are theft of a vehicle, theft of trade secrets, various types of credit card theft, and others.
Shoplifting is defined under PC 459.5 as entering into a commercial establishment, while that establishment is open for business, with intent to commit larceny, where the amount taken (or intended to be taken) has a value not greater than $950. Unless you have certain prior convictions, shoplifting is a misdemeanor.
If you have been arrested on any theft or theft-related charge, your first order of business should be to talk to an experienced San Diego theft lawyer. He can explain to you the nature of the charges against you, and the consequences that may occur if you are convicted.
We understand the pressure and the anxiety you feel when you have a criminal charge hanging over your head. At RJT Criminal Defense, in addition to identifying exactly what charges and penalties you may be facing, we will also explain how we will go about investigating and developing a sound strategy for your case. This will include challenging the evidence against you, raising any and all applicable defenses, and actively seeking a dismissal or a reduction in the charges against you. Call us today for a free consultation.