If you are accused of any type of theft related crime, you could face serious repercussions, even if no one were hurt or all of the property was returned. Some theft cases, such as identity theft, embezzlement, or fraud, can be extremely complex and require an experienced criminal defense lawyer to filter through the evidence and defend your rights in court.
In California, some of the most common theft crimes are:
- Petty Theft
- Grand Theft
- Auto Theft
- Theft of Utilities
- Commercial / Residential Burglary
- Auto Burglary
- Possession of Stolen Property
- Identity Theft
- Check Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
Theft is the taking of another’s property without their consent with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. If the value of the property taken is greater than $950, you can be charged with grand theft. If the value is less than $950, it could be considered a petty theft.
Burglary means entering a building with the intent to commit a theft or a felony. “Breaking and entering” is not an element of burglary. If you walk into an open store with the intent to shoplift or cash a bad check, you could be charged with commercial (2nd degree) burglary. If you enter an unlocked door or window of a house with the intention to steal, you could be charged with residential (1st degree) burglary.
Penalties for theft crimes in California
The punishment for a theft crime depends on the type of theft, the amount of the theft, and the criminal history of the defendant. Some crimes, like a first-time petty theft, will always be charged as a misdemeanor. Other crimes, like possession of stolen property, could be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony. These crimes are typically punishable by up to one year in county jail as a misdemeanor, or by 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison as a felony. Residential burglary is a serious felony and can only be prosecuted as a felony. As part of any sentence for a theft-related crime, you will have to pay restitution for any loss the victim of the crime incurred. If you are granted probation as part of your sentence you will have to pay numerous fines and fees, perform community service, and be monitored by the probation department for up to five years.
Your Rights after an Arrest
When you are arrested, you may feel like the officers have all the power. They certainly try to make it feel that way, but our constitution was written with you in mind. Regardless of the charges or accusations, you have certain rights from the moment you are contacted by police or members of law enforcement.
These rights are meant to protect you and ensure fair treatment under the law. A Fresno criminal defense lawyer can help preserve and assert those rights, holding police as well as prosecutors accountable when your rights are violated.
If You have Been Charged with a Crime, you have the right to:
- Remain Silent
- Consult an Attorney
- A Speedy Trial
- Due Process
- Know Your Charges
- Be Free of Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
Whether clients are charged with a first time DUI, domestic violence, a petty theft, or a serious felony such as embezzlement, assault or a sex crime, the Law Offices of My AZ Legal Team, PLLC understand that their role as criminal defense attorneys is to fight to win.
The Law Offices of My AZ Legal Team, PLLC offers a free initial consultation, affordable fees and accepts payment plans under most circumstances.
Call the Law Office of My AZ Legal Team, PLLC at (520) 355-4887 to schedule a free consultation.