In California, theft charges include a wide variety of
charges. Theft charges in Los Angeles and Orange County include crimes such as
petty theft, grand theft, shoplifting, unlawful taking or driving of a vehicle,
grand theft auto, forgery, embezzlement, check fraud, credit card fraud, health
care fraud, insurance fraud, auto fraud, welfare fraud, and identity theft.
Some of these charges such as petty theft or shoplifting will be charged as
misdemeanors, while the others can be charged in California as either
misdemeanors or felonies. The classification of these charges will largely
depend on the value of what is alleged to have been stolen as well as the
defendant’s prior criminal record. The elements for theft related charges can
vary but they share similar characteristics.
WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THEFT CHARGES TO BE PROVEN IN
In California, theft is generally defined as a defendant
intentionally permanently taking or withholding the property of another person
without their consent. The specifics of a theft will dictate the actual charges
that are ultimately filed against you. For example, a theft of something worth
over $950 will result in California grand theft charges being filed. Grand
theft charges can be filed as either felonies or misdemeanors in California. Thefts
of specific items such as an automobile also have their own code sections and
can likewise be filed as misdemeanors or felonies in California. Los Angeles
theft charges will often include other charges such as forgery, fraud, or
burglary. Here are some specific examples of various theft charges in the Los
A Gardena defendant is accused of stealing a laptop computer
from a bag at a restaurant. The Gardena Police Department determines the value
of the computer is $700. In this situation, it is likely that a petty theft
charge (California Penal Code Section 484(a)) would be filed against the
defendant in the Torrance Courthouse. As a Gardena criminal defense attorney, I have extensive experience in the Torrance Courthouse and it was actually one of my assigned courthouse as a former Los Angeles district attorney. .
A Long Beach defendant is accused of stealing a bracelet
from the purse of a stranger at the mall. The Long Beach Police Department
values the item at $1,500. Because the value of the bracelet is over $950, it
is likely that grand theft charges (California Penal Code Section 487) will be
filed against the defendant at the Long Beach Courthouse. I have extensive experience working as a Long Beach criminal defense attorney and regularly appear at the Long Beach Courthouse.
Unlawful Taking or
Driving of a Vehicle
A Santa Monica defendant is pulled over by the Santa Monica
Police Department in a car that is not his and the car has been reported
stolen. The owner of the car tells the police that the defendant did not have
permission to drive the car, but does not know who initially stole the car.
Because there is no evidence that the defendant was the initial person that
stole the car, he is likely to instead be charged with unlawful taking or
driving of a vehicle (California Penal Code Section 10851(a)) in Santa Monica
and charges will be filed at the Airport Courthouse. I regularly appear as a Santa Monica criminal defense attorney at that courthouse.
Grand Theft Auto
A Compton defendant is stopped by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s
Department in a car that has been reported stolen an hour before. The owner of
the car has surveillance video showing the Compton defendant breaking into the
car and stealing it. Unlike the above situation with the Santa Monica
defendant, evidence exists showing that this defendant was the actual person to
initially steal the car. Thus, he is likely to be charged with grand theft auto
(California Penal Code Section 487(d)(1)) in the Compton Courthouse. The defendant will need to immediately retain a Compton criminal defense attorney. I have extensive experience as a Compton criminal defense attorney and have conducted numerous trials at that location.
TRIAL ON THEFT CHARGES IN CALIFORNIA
The final step of any Los Angeles or Orange County theft
prosecution is a trial. Most cases do not result in a trial but it is still
crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is ready and able
to take a theft case to trial. The reality is that you will not receive the
prosecutor’s best possible offer unless the government believes that you have
an attorney with the ability to win at trial. I have experience as a Los
Angeles theft attorney in every step of the criminal process from before the
case has been filed all the way through trial. Contact me today so that I can
learn more about your individual case and begin to put my experience and skills
to work for you.