Martinez Theft Lawyer
Whether you are accused of petty or grand theft, the consequences of a conviction can be severe. Theft is a crime of dishonesty that will appear whenever a prospective employer, landlord, or other agency performs a background check on you. A theft conviction can be highly damaging to your ability to attain employment and housing in the future.
A Martinez theft lawyer could determine what defenses are available to reduce or minimize the risk of a criminal conviction on your record. By getting the advice and help of a skilled criminal attorney, you may be in a better position to fight the charges that you are facing.
Theft Charges in Martinez
California Penal Code § 484 defines the various circumstances that can lead to theft charges. This code section defines three separate types of theft:
- Theft by larceny or taking property belonging to others without consent
- Theft by false or fraudulent representation or pretense
- Theft by embezzlement or appropriation of property entrusted to another
Theft offenses apply not only to real and personal property, but also to money, services, and labor. When people commit theft, they must not only do so without the consent of the property owners but also with the intent to permanently deprive the owners of the property or to remove it from their possession for a protracted period that would damage their ability to use and enjoy the property. Theft also requires that the accused persons move the property from where it belongs and keep it elsewhere for some time, no matter how brief that time may be.
For instance, if individuals transfer money belonging to others into their investment account for only one day. Even if they later transfer the money back into the original account, they still commit theft. Likewise, physically moving property belonging to others without their consent, even if they move it only a short distance, can result in theft charges. An experienced Martinez lawyer could review a defendant’s case to determine if his or her actions qualify as theft.
Penalties for Grand Theft
Under Cal. Pen. Code § 487, grand theft generally occurs when individuals steal property, money, or services worth more than $950.00. However, there are some circumstances in which a theft constitutes grand theft, no matter the value of the stolen property. If the property stolen is an automobile or firearm, the charge is always grand theft.
When is Grand Theft Considered a Misdemeanor?
Cal. Pen. Code § 489 sets forth the penalties for grand theft, which is chargeable as a misdemeanor or a felony. The nature of the charge depends on the criminal history of the accused persons, as well as the circumstances surrounding the theft.
Misdemeanor grand theft can result in a county jail sentence of one year and a fine of $1,000. Grand theft of a firearm, however, is a felony offense that can result in up to three years in state prison, along with a maximum fine of $10,000. A knowledgeable lawyer in Martinez could describe the full range of potential penalties for a grand theft conviction.
What are the Consequences for Petty Theft?
Petty theft involves the taking of property, money, or services with a present market value of less than $950.00. Additionally, petty theft does not include any property taken directly from others, such as in the case of robbery. Many petty theft offenses involve shoplifting (PC §490.5), although petty theft can also include embezzlement or fraud, so long as the market value of the property is less than $950.00.
Under Cal. Pen. Code § 490, petty theft is punishable by a six-month jail sentence, a $1,000 fine, or both. Depending on the situation, an individual may be able to have his or her petty theft charges reduced to an infraction or complete a diversion program therefore avoiding a conviction. A theft attorney in the area could explain if these options are available based on the facts of a case.
Speak with a Martinez Theft Attorney for Advice
When you are facing criminal charges, representation by an experienced Martinez theft lawyer could be crucial to the outcome of your case. By getting the advice that you need in this situation, you may be able to better understand your options and make important decisions about your case.
Skilled legal counsel could develop the best defense strategy for your case. Schedule your initial case consultation today.