Theft crimes cover a wide variety of offenses. They range from petty theft to major fraud cases.
Petty Theft is the unlawful taking of property with a value of $400 or less. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant had the specific intent to permanently deprive the owner of its property. This offense is a misdemeanor. First offenses for petty theft usually result in a fine and/or community service.
It is possible to have minor theft offenses dismissed by way of “diversion” or some sort of deferred entry of judgement. However, if you have a prior theft conviction a simple misdemeanor could be filed as a felony. If you have more than one prior theft conviction even a minor shoplifting offense could lead to a prison sentence. That is why it is important to engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing these charges.
Grand Theft is the unlawful taking of property valued at $400 or more. This offense is what is referred to as a “wobbler” or an offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor of a felony. An experienced criminal defense attorney can often get felony grand theft charges reduced to a misdemeanor.
Sentences for these offenses vary from community service or Cal Trans (picking up trash on the side of the freeway) and/or fines to jail time depending upon whether you have any prior criminal convictions or contacts with law enforcement in addition to the value of the item or items taken.
For more information, please call Attorney Diane Bass at 949-494-7011 or contact us online today.