In California, the statutory crime of theft consists of the common law crimes of larceny, embezzlement, and taking property of another under false pretenses. Theft crimes are divided into two categories of grand theft and petty theft. If the value of labor, real or personal property taken exceeds $950, a person accused of committing such an offense may be prosecuted on a felony theft charge. In all other situations, when the value of property taken does not exceed $950, the crime of theft will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense.
Felony and misdemeanor charges of theft differ in another important aspect. A misdemeanor petty theft offense is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment in a county jail for up to six month. Grand theft, on the other hand, is a “wobbler” offense, which means that it can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When the offense involves stealing of a firearm, an individual may be sentenced for up to three years in state prison. It is clear, therefore, that individuals who are charged with theft crimes must seek legal advice of an experienced criminal law attorney to avoid incarceration and other serious consequences of a criminal conviction.
The definition of the most common theft crime, larceny, is the unlawful taking and carrying away of the personal property of another without the owner’s consent and with the intent to permanently deprive that person of such property. Embezzlement requires an individual to misappropriate the property of another while it is in his or her rightful possession. The crime of false pretenses, on the other hand, occurs when an individual obtains both possession and title to personal property of another by making intentional false statement of past or existing fact with the specific intent to defraud the true owner. As a result, an individual may be convicted of theft when all the elements of larceny, embezzlement, or taking by false pretenses are present, the true owner of the stolen property did not consent to the taking or the consent was fraudulently obtained, and property was actually taken.
This office handles all types of matters related to theft crimes in San Diego County. In many cases this year alone, clients were placed on probation and never went to jail. For a free consultation, contact us at (619) 232-5122 or: [email protected].
For more information on theft and white collar crimes, see the following:
Theft and White Collar Crimes
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