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As defined in California Penal Code §484, the crime of theft—also referred to as larceny—could include a wide range of illegal conduct, and a conviction for any type of theft could result in a sentence that may include a fine, jail time, probation, and/or requirements to pay restitution to plaintiffs. Depending on the value of property or money stolen, these penalties may vary widely in severity from one case to the next.

If you are facing such charges of any degree, it may be important for you to consult with a San Leandro theft lawyer. Even if you have only been questioned but not charged yet, a dedicated criminal attorney could help you take stock of your options and fight to pursue a positive outcome. En Español.

What are the Different Charges for Larceny?

There are typically two types of theft in California. Petty theft may involve the taking of labor, money or property that is worth $950 or less. Grand theft may involve the taking of labor, money, or property that is worth more than $950. Regardless of whether a charge is classified as a petty theft or grand theft, the prosecution must prove all the following elements in order to warrant a conviction:

  • The alleged perpetrator intentionally took something of value that belonged to someone else
  • The taking occurred without the consent of the owner
  • The alleged perpetrator intended to permanently keep what was taken
  • The alleged perpetrator asserted some sort of control over what was taken

Some examples of conduct that could be classified as theft in California may include:

  • Embezzlement
  • Forgery
  • Fraudulently obtaining credit
  • Shoplifting
  • Switching price tags on items that are available for purchase
  • Unlawfully selling someone else’s credit or debit card to a third party

Theft charges could also be brought in cases wherein the alleged perpetrator utilized deception or trickery to obtain someone else’s labor, money or property.

Potential Penalties a Defendant Could Face

The penalties for any theft crime may primarily depend on the value of what was taken. A person who is convicted of petty theft may be punished with a fine of up to $1,000, a jail term of up to six months, probation and/or an order requiring restitution to the complainant. Someone who is convicted of grand theft might be punished by a jail term of up to three years, and with other penalties applicable to petty theft convictions.

How Could a Theft Conviction Impact Someone’s Immigration Status?

In California, theft is also classified as a crime of moral turpitude for immigration purposes. This may mean a noncitizen’s conviction for any type of theft crime can lead to denial of naturalization, deportation, loss of permanent residency, or removal. A theft attorney in San Leandro could contest criminal punishments and may be able to help naturalized or otherwise legal citizens review the potential secondary effects of their charges and respond accordingly.

Potential Defenses an Attorney May Employ

Determining the best defense for theft charges could depend on the facts and circumstances regarding the particular case. Some of the most common defenses raised with respect to such cases may include:

  • The alleged perpetrator was misidentified
  • The alleged perpetrator had a legitimate a claim of ownership regarding what was taken
  • The alleged perpetrator had obtained the owner’s consent to take what was taken
  • The alleged perpetrator did not intend to permanently keep what was taken
  • The alleged perpetrator was intoxicated at the time of the taking and, therefore, was unable to form the requisite intent that the crime of theft requires

Each element of the crime charged could be based on the specific definition of theft outlined in the California Penal Code, the entirety of which must be satisfied in order for a prosecutor to secure a conviction. A theft lawyer in San Leandro could work with you to contest any weak elements of the prosecution’s case and advocate for your best interests both in and out of court.

Speak with a San Leandro Theft Attorney

Being convicted of or pleading guilty to any type of theft crime could leave you with a criminal record that may negatively impact many facets of your life. It could be so important for you to consult with a San Leandro theft lawyer if you are facing any type of theft charges. Call today to schedule an initial consultation and get started on your case.

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