Theft crimes have many definitions in California. Theft includes outright taking someone else's property, but also fraud crimes, embezzlement, extortion and bribery. Because theft can be charged as a felony, it can be very serious, carrying prison time. In fact, even if the theft was non-violent, it can even be counted as a "strike" under the three-strikes law, which can mean even harsher penalties. Particularly in felony or strike cases, don't hesitate to call the Orange County theft defense attorneys at HOWARD LAW, PC if you've been charged.
State law divides theft crimes into grand theft and petty theft. For information on petty theft, please see our petty theft page. Grand theft is generally charged when the value of the things taken is $400 or greater. That includes money and property taken through fraud, identity theft, embezzlement and other indirect forms of theft. However, grand theft may be charged for theft of lesser amounts, if the theft was:
- Theft of a firearm
- Theft directly from someone's person
- Theft of certain agricultural products, cargo or animals
Grand theft is penalized by up to a year in jail or prison, unless the charge was theft of a firearm. In that case, state law calls for a sentence of 16 months, two years or three years. Stealing more than $50,000 can add one to two years more in prison.
After prison, a theft conviction -- especially a felony -- can also create serious problems with finding employment. That's why our Inland Empire theft defense lawyers do everything we can to keep theft charges off our clients' records. In cases where the theft is a first charge and the amount stolen was small, we can often arrange for dropped charges or reduced penalties in exchange for restitution. In larger cases, we negotiate hard with prosecutors to charge crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies. We can also request alternative sentences like work-release or community service, allowing clients to serve their sentences without disrupting their lives. And of course, we will vigorously defend clients when the circumstances require it.
If you or a loved one is charged with grand theft, larceny, fraud, embezzlement or another theft crime, Howard Law can help. To learn more or arrange a consultation, call us today at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us through the Internet.