If you are accused of any type of theft related crime, you could face serious repercussions, even if no one was hurt or all of the property was returned. Some theft cases, such as identity theft, embezzlement, or fraud, can be incredibly complicated and require an experienced criminal defense lawyer to sift 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 burglary
- 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 “wobbler” 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 (a strike) 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.
The Law Office of Amy Chapman exclusively handles criminal defense cases. This focus results in exceptionally skilled advocacy for the accused. To schedule a free consultation with Santa Rosa theft crimes lawyer Amy Chapman, call today
at (707) 636-3207 or contact us online.