What is the Penalty for Theft in California?

what is the penalty for theft

What is the Penalty for Theft in California?

Depending on where you live, there are different ways of talking about theft. Some people call it theft while others call it larceny. There are also specific types of theft, such as embezzlement or theft by deception. In California, the crime of theft includes all of these things. Depending on the value of the items you’re accused of stealing, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Both crimes carry stiff penalties. That’s why you’ll want to meet with a criminal defense attorney in California as soon as you learn of the charges.

While the statutes in California use different terminology, such as petty theft and larceny, the bottom line is this. Theft involves stealing. No matter what the specific charge may be, if you’re accused of stealing anything, you can be charged with the offense of theft. The crime of theft in California is defined as stealing somebody else’s property by larceny, embezzlement, or false pretenses with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of their property. As you can see, there are a lot of different offenses included here. That’s why you need a criminal defense attorney in California there. They know the differences between the various crimes. They also know how to defend your charges and poke holes in the prosecutor’s case.

What are the Different Types of Theft?

The laws for theft in California can be a bit confusing. That’s why it’s helpful to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in California with you. They can break down the charges and explain how the law applies to you.

In California, there are three (3) main types of theft:

  • Larceny – This is when you intentionally take somebody else’s property (stealing)
  • False pretenses – When you deceive somebody in order to take their property, you can be charged with theft.
  • Embezzlement – If you’re entrusted with money or property and then convert it to your own unlawful use, it’s considered embezzlement.

All three are considered theft in California. They all carry significant penalties. However, the actual charge will depend on the value of the property taken.

The Value of the Stolen Property Matters

Your criminal defense attorney in California understands that your charges will depend on the value of the items taken. If you are accused of taking property that is worth less than $950, you’ll be charged with petty theft. This is considered a misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The other, more serious type of offense is grand theft or larceny. This is the theft of any property worth $950 or more. This crime carries jail time of up to three (3) years. It also may require that you compensate the victim for the items taken. This is considered a felony. However, since California has wobbler offenses, the judge may choose to charge you with a misdemeanor. Your criminal defense attorney in California can always urge the prosecutor to take advantage of this option. The penalties will be much less severe.

You May Be Charged with a Specific Theft Offense in California

Like many states, California has a variety of specific theft offenses. This includes things like lying to a pawnbroker in order to get cash. It also involves somebody finding lost property without trying to find its lawful owner. This may not sound fair. If you find property, you shouldn’t have to track down the owner. However, the law in California states otherwise.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in California

If you or your loved one is charged with theft in California, you could be facing serious consequences. Rather than face them alone, talk to a criminal defense attorney in California. They can review the charges and see what kind of evidence the State has. They can also negotiate with the prosecutor to try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Since every case is unique, it’s impossible to say what will happen with your case. Until your criminal defense attorney in California has a chance to review the facts, they won’t know how best to proceed.

Call and schedule your initial consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys in California. They can sit down with you and give you an honest picture of what you’re up against. They can also get started on preparing a defense. Call right away and set up a date and time that works for you.