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Theft is one of the most common criminal charges within the city of Los Angeles, so our law firm has a great deal of experience dealing with various theft cases. Here is everything you need to know about how Los Angeles charges, convicts, and punishes people who are arrested for theft.
What Is the Legal Definition of Theft?
Most types of theft fall under California Penal Codes 484 and 487 in Los Angeles. These laws include a variety of actions, ranging from basic robberies to fraudulent behavior. Other types of theft include but are not limited to: not returning lost property while knowing the true owner, publishing a person’s credit card number on the internet, or getting a refund for an item that you did not actually buy. Depending on the value and types of the items taking, theft can either be classified as grand theft or petty theft, and these two degrees of theft have different penalties.
What Are the Penalties for Petty Theft in Los Angeles?
Petty theft is a charge for theft that is under $950 dollars. Petty theft is a misdemeanor that comes with a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a $1000 fine, or both the jail time and fine. Depending on individual circumstances, a defendant may receive significantly lightened penalties. After being convicted of petty theft, a person can be on probation for up to three years. If the defendant has no history of theft and stole an item under $50, they are only charged with an infraction. The worst possible penalty for an infraction is a maximum fine of $250.
What Are the Penalties for Grand Theft in Los Angeles?
A person may be charged with grand theft if the value of the property exceeds $950 dollars or it is a type of theft that automatically results in grand theft charges. Regardless of value, items such as cars and firearms result in a charge of grand theft if stolen. A person may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the the item thefted. If convicted with misdemeanor grand theft, a person faces a maximum of 364 days in jail, a $1000 fine, both jail time and a fine, and up to three years of probation. Being convicted of felony grand theft may result in a sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years and a fine of up to $10,000.
How Can a Lawyer Defend You From Charges of Theft?
A person can only be convicted of theft if the prosecutor proves that a defendant took control of another person’s property without that person’s consent and that the defendant moved the property from its original location and intended to keep the property. If these four things are not proven, then it is possible to escape theft charges. Possible methods of defence include showing that the defendant did not plan to keep the item, claiming that the defendant had been given consent to take the property, or challenging weak evidence. IF the lawyer can show that the allegations are false or inaccurate, a person may be found innocent of theft charges.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for theft, do not despair. All of the California laws about theft might seem confusing, but we are here to assist you. At our law firm, we can provide the legal expertise needed to avoid criminal convictions or lighten penalties. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you.