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Grand Theft and Petty Theft Charges Explained

Theft defense in California: Grand Theft & Petty Theft Charges Explained

Theft-Penal Code 487 is a crime against another person or entity's property. When you are faced with theft charges in California, the prosecutors will try to find a way whereby the charges can be categorized as grand theft as a felony which includes bigger penalties.

However, proving a theft charge as a felony has certain conditions that the prosecutors will need to fulfil before you can be sentenced to any penalties. This primarily includes the condition of intent – that is, the prosecutors will need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you, as the defendant, had the intent to unlawfully take property that belonged to someone else, the victim. If you hire a good criminal defense attorney for theft defense in California, they will try their best to ensure the prosecutors do not convict you of a theft charge.

Understanding the Difference between Grand theft and Petty Theft Charges

It is important to learn as much about the charges you are facing. If you are facing any theft charges in California, you must get yourself the best theft defense attorney in California you can afford and make sure you learn all that you can about the charges and what the law has to say about it.

For example, people often believe theft occurs when the person steals property without the owner's knowledge. However, you should know you can be charged with theft if the owner of the property left you in charge of their property for a certain period and you fail to return it. In short, knowing that theft in legal definition is simply committed when the person takes away something that does not belong to them with or without the owner's knowledge could help you manage things better.

When it comes to theft crimes, the law in California divides them into grand theft and petty theft. Various conditions are involved that help the courts determine whether a larceny crime in California is rightly sought as grand theft. In the paragraphs that follow, we briefly discuss the types of theft crimes recognized in California law and the penalties that come with each of them.

Theft Charges and the Penal Code Sections Applied

Any attorney who is able to provide you effective theft defense in California knows will be able to guide you through this information. You might want to ask your attorney about which sections of the law are used to rule cases of theft and how the finer points in those laws work for or against you as the defendant.

Grand Theft Charge (Penal Code 487 PC)

According to section 487 of California Penal Code, grand theft charges in California are valid when the committed crime involves unlawful removal of property worth $950, or over, from its owner. The determination of what the property is worth is done based on its market value at the time of the crime instead of its value at the time it came into the ownership of the victim. It should be understood that certain kinds of property grow in value with time – such as antiquities – while some others depreciate in worth over time – such as vehicles, etc.

With certain kinds of property, however – including cars, you may be charged with grand theft in California even if the market value of the property at the time of the crime did not exceed $950.

Under statutes in effect currently, your theft defense in California may request a misdemeanor charge if the property is not worth $950.

Petty Theft Charge (Penal Code 488 PC)

Similarly, California Penal Code section 488 PC states that any theft crime of property worth less than $950 is generally considered petty theft with the exception of those cases where the property that is worth less than $950 is stolen and the case is filed with grand theft charges.

In simpler words, any theft cases not filed as grand theft are filed as petty theft in California.

Penalties for Theft Charges in California

Theft charges are related to property and penalties for theft charges in California are determined by a court of law depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of losses involved. California law determines theft charges upon the condition that the prosecutors can prove the defendant's intent for larceny and if the property includes any of the following:

  • Personal belongings
  • Money
  • Real property
  • Wages or dues

Penalties sanctioned by the state of California for theft charges are listed below. A number of statutes are used to determine the right penalty for any given charge, which is why you should get yourself the best possible theft defense in California.

Grand Theft Charge Penalty

Penalties for proven grand theft charges in California include the following:

  • Jail time up to three years (Depending on the criminal history of the perpetrator, this period may be extended significantly)

Petty Theft Charge Penalty

Penalties for proven petty theft charges in California include the following:

  • Court fine of $1,000 or less (Up to $250 for property worth less than $50)
  • Jail time of 1 year or less

Why You Should get Our Theft Legal Defense Services

As a seasoned criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles, Attorney, William Kroger:

  • Has experience of over 20 years defending criminal cases for a variety of charges including theft
  • Specializes in criminal defense and has a highly successful track record of reduced sentences and acquittals
  • Is celebrated by national media networks, such as CNN, CNBC, FOX, and others as an upright citizen and formidable legal expert
  • Offers services across the state of California, especially in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Culver City, San Fernando Valley, Sherman Oaks, Brentwood, Hollywood, etc.

Call today on 323-655-5700 with details to acquire our legal help for theft charges in California

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