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Under California Penal Code states grand theft is defined as intentionally taking property from another individual, which includes:
Property that is valued at more than $950.
Property that was directly taken from the owner regardless of the cost. If a shirt or shoes were taken directly from an owner, then it is considered grand theft.
Certain kinds of property, which include vehicles or firearms.
Fish, shellfish, aqua-cultural products, fruit, or nuts valued at more than $250. However, fish, shellfish, and aqua-cultural products must be taken from a research facility or commercial fishery.
Some animals, which can include a horse or farm animals such as fowl.
Penalties of Grand Theft
If an individual is charged with grand theft, then he or she could face serious penalties. In most cases, the prosecutor will choose to charge an individual with misdemeanor or felony grand theft. When deciding to charge an individual with a misdemeanor or felony, prosecutors will consider past offenses and the facts surrounding the present case.
In a misdemeanor grand theft conviction, an individual can face up to one year in a county jail.
In a felony grand theft conviction, an individual can face sixteen months to three years in prison.
Additionally, grand theft can include sentence enhancements. A sentence enhancement is time that is added to a conviction if certain factors are involved in the charge. For grand theft there are several sentence enhancements, which include:
One year added to a sentence if the property value is more than $65,000.
Two years added to a sentence if the property value is more than $200,000.
Three years added to a sentence if the property value is more than $1,300,000.
Four years added to a sentence if the property value is more than $3,200,000.
Examples of Grand Theft
Here are some examples of grand theft:
Taking an individual’s wallet from his or her pocket.
Stealing a bracelet from a jewelry store valued at $975.
Taking a computer valued at more than $950 from an individual’s home.
Grand Theft Defense
Due to the severity of grand theft charges, it is vital for those charged with this crime to seek-out legal representatives who have the ability to develop a strong defensive case. There are certain strategies that attorneys can use to prove an individual was not intentionally committing grand theft.
No Intent to Steal
In order to convict an individual of grand theft, the prosecution must first establish beyond a reasonable doubt there was an intent to unlawfully take another individual’s property. An individual who did not have an intent to take another’s property is not guilty of grand theft, and a good defensive team can prove there was no intent.
If the Owner Grants Consent
If the owner of the property that was taken gave the defendant permission to take the property, then it is not grand theft.
The Assumption the Defendant Owned the Property
There are cases when the defendant believed the property belonged to him or her, which would not be considered grand theft. If an individual believed the property was his or her’s then it also proves there was not intent to steal, which is further proof the defendant is not guilty of grand theft.
The Defendant is Falsely Accused
If an individual is falsely accused of grand theft, then a defensive team will be able to investigate the situation and prove their client’s innocence.
If an individual has a grand theft conviction on his or her record, it can make it difficult to find a job, rent an apartment, and more. There are many times an individual did not have intent to take another’s property and faces a grand theft conviction. A legal team who has experience with grand theft cases can help a defendant prove his or her innocence.