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If you take someone else’s property without their consent, it’s considered theft. If the items taken do not amount to a total of $950, the crime is considered petty theft. If the items taken amount to $950 or more, the crime is upgraded to grand theft according to California law. Penal Code 487 PC is the code that defines the act of grand theft in California, and it’s a crime that’s taken very seriously in a court of law. If you are arrested and charged with grand theft, you must call an attorney to help you fight your case. The result of a grand theft conviction can follow you the rest of your life.
If convicted, you might find it’s impossible to get a job following your sentence. You might find your employer can no longer employ you because of this charge, and you will find that many industries are not legally permitted to hire you because of your theft background. It’s a dangerous conviction because it changes the course of your life both legally and financially, and most people cannot afford to live a life with this type of conviction on their record.
Grand Theft in California
What is grand theft? It sounds like a video game, but it’s very real legal charge. It’s defined as the unauthorized possession of another’s property valued at more than $950. If you steal anything with a price tag higher than this, it’s automatically grand theft. It doesn’t matter if it’s a designer handbag you took from your neighbor’s home or a car you took out of someone’s driveway when they weren’t looking. It’s grand theft, and the penalties are serious.
Penalties for Grand Theft
California law considers grand theft a wobbler. If you’re unfamiliar with the term wobbler in California law, it’s a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case. How it’s charged depends on what the prosecuting attorney who is trying your case decides is the most appropriate charge.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor grand theft charge, you’re facing up to one year in jail. If you’re charged with felony grand theft, you’re facing no less than 16 months but not more than three years in prison. There are financial penalties as well as additional penalties involved in sentencing depending on the specifics of your crime. For example, if you are drunk and make the decision to steal a car, you cause an accident, and you’re arrested, you are also facing DUI charges and the penalties that go along with that.
Legal Defense Against Grand Theft
There are several legal defenses that might work in your favor if you are charged with a crime like this one. For example, you might not know you stole something or you simply did not intend to steal it. The property reported stolen is your legal property and belongs to you, the person who owned it did tell you that the item was one you could have or borrow, or you simply have a case of false accusation working against you, you could defend yourself.
It’s not uncommon for an aging parent to forget they told you it’s all right to borrow their car and report it stolen by accident. It’s not uncommon for an angry ex-spouse to want to charge you with grand theft if you are going through a difficult divorce and decide to take what you feel is yours out of the home you share. Sometimes it’s a blatant lie on behalf of someone else or it’s a mistake from the start. Whatever the case, it could have serious legal consequences for you.
Your future depends on the outcome of this case, and that’s why you must hire an experienced attorney before you speak to anyone following your arrest. Attorneys are familiar with the law and what it entails, and they have the ability to defend you in court. Let an attorney help you clear your name if you are charged with grand theft. The outcome of your trial can change the entire face of your future, and it’s not worth the risk of trying to do this yourself.