Oakland Theft Lawyer
Some of the most common offenses that Oakland’s criminal courts charge people with is theft. However, theft is far from a one-dimensional allegation. Depending on the type and value of the items allegedly taken, theft can be a minor incident or a serious crime.
If you are currently facing theft charges, an Oakland theft lawyer may be able to help by ensuring you understand the law as it applies to their case. Furthermore, an experienced criminal defense attorney could work to develop a strategy designed to protect your rights and freedoms both in and out of court. En Español.
Theft Crimes Under Oakland Law
California’s laws concerning theft are fairly straightforward. California Penal Code §484 states that it is illegal for any person to steal, take, carry away, or otherwise misappropriate the property of another person. This broad definition encompasses most ways that a person could potentially steal something, including:
- Theft by taking
- Theft by deception
- Theft of services
Where California’s law becomes complicated is in determining the severity of an alleged theft crime. The main factor in this determination is the value of the items allegedly taken. To make this determination, the court takes the aggregate value of all the money or property taken during the theft.
Most thefts are labeled as petty theft under Cal. Pen. Code §488. This applies to the majority of thefts of property valued under $950. A conviction here may be punished by a jail term of no more than six months, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both.
The other class of theft in California is known as grand theft, a denotation which applies to all thefts valued at more than $950. According to Cal. Pen. Code §487, this could also include the theft of:
- Fruits, vegetables, or other produce valued at over $250
- An automobile
- A firearm
- Real estate valued at over $250
The penalties for a grand theft are far more serious than those for petty theft. Under Cal. Pen. Code §489, most grand theft may be punished by up to one year’s imprisonment. However, the theft of any firearm results in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 16 months up to a maximum of three years. A Oakland theft lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
In addition to any criminal punishment for a theft conviction, the court may also require a guilty person to pay restitution to the property’s owner. In fact, criminal theft cases cannot be closed until the restitution is fully paid. Even in instances where a person pleads guilty or no contest to allegations of theft, part of their probation typically includes an order to pay restitution.
No matter the type of theft you allegedly committed, an Oakland theft lawyer may be able to help. Your personal attorney could work to examine the strength of the prosecutor’s case, evaluate it against your goals, and develop a strategy to give you the best chance of success.
Whether your goal is to come to a fair plea deal to avoid jail time or to fight the charges with a full trial, an Oakland theft attorney could work to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. Schedule a consultation to discuss your case by calling a local attorney today.