Theft Lawyer in Los Angeles
Powerful Defense Against Your Theft Charges.
Theft is a common criminal offense that occurs in the Los Angeles area. Thousands of individuals are charged with theft each year. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate circumstance, you are likely concerned about what a conviction could mean for your future.
The specific penalties you could face vary considerably, depending on several factors, including the value of the property stolen and any aggravating circumstances. Typical punishments for theft crimes include probation, prison time, and substantial fines. Additional consequences include limited employment, housing, and education opportunities.
If you are facing theft charges, it is important to seek qualified legal representation immediately. Attorney Craig Sturm of Sturm Law has two decades of legal experience and has helped thousands of individuals obtain case dismissals and reduced charges. When you work with him, you can receive personalized legal services every step of the way.
Petty Theft Vs. Grand Theft
When facing theft charges, it is important to understand when a crime will be charged as petty theft and when it will be charged as grand theft. In California, petty theft occurs when someone illegally takes someone else’s property that is valued at less than $950. Petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in county jail.
If the stolen property is worth more than $950, the offense will be charged as grand theft.
Several forms of theft can fall under Grand Theft laws, including:
- Shoplifting of expensive items that are worth more than $950
- Embezzling funds from an employer
- Breaking into a house and stealing electronics worth $950 or more
In California, most Grand Theft offenses are wobblers – they can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanor Grand Theft is punishable by up to one year in county jail. A conviction for felony Grand Theft could result in a prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years.
Defenses Against Allegations of Theft
Whether you have been charged with petty or grand theft, a legal team can help you build a solid defense.
A range of defenses can be utilized, including:
- You did not intend to steal the property
- The stolen property belonged to you
- The owner of the property gave you their consent to take it
- You were falsely accused of the crime
Understanding the Crime of Burglary in California
A burglary is defined as the unauthorized entry, done either with or without force, into a specified area with the intent to commit a theft. This area could be a house, vehicle, or commercial building. A residential burglary can be considered a “strike” under California’s “three strikes” law.
In California, there are two levels of burglary. If committed in an area where people are residing, it is a residential burglary, which is the first degree of the crime. If considered a felony, the crime can result in a prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of not more than $10,000.
In cases where the crime targets a business, it is considered a second-degree burglary. Prosecuted as a felony, the crime can result in a prison sentence of up to three years and a maximum fine of $10,000. If charged as a misdemeanor, a conviction could result in up to one-year imprisonment.
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