Grand Theft Firearm is a “strike” offense in California and therefore a very serious charge that shouldn’t at any point be underestimated. If someone takes a firearm, they can be in for some messy legal consequences. At one point in time, this crime was always considered to be a “grand theft” but thanks to Proposition 47, it now must meet several requirements to be considered grand theft:
– Amount of firearms stolen must be worth more than $950
– Or the defendant must have had a prior conviction for either a sex crime that requires them to register as a sex offender or another serious felony like rape, murder, or sexual abuse of a child under 14)
If neither of those applies, then it’s viewed as California petty theft.
A Few Examples of Grand Theft of a Firearm
GTF might have taken place if:
– Someone breaks into a store and steals firearms worth over $950
– Someone breaks into a home and steals an old pistol that’s worth less than $950, but the person who broke in was a registered sex offender
– A woman asks to borrow and neighbor’s valuable antique gun but then she refuses to return it (And it’s worth more than $950)
Penalties for this crime can be steep. It’s a felony and it’s a strike law. A state prison sentence is a real possibility. You might receive up to 3 years in California state prison and be asked to pay a fine up to $10,000, no light penalties and certainly something to dwell on before trying to fight this charge without a lawyer. This is a very complex law, one that has many exceptions and defenses, and if you try to defend yourself you are quickly going to realize you’re fighting against a stacked deck. Prosecutors know what they’re doing. You need someone on your side that also knows this law inside and out. Only a defense attorney can give you your best chance to avoid prison or even a conviction.
Defenses for Grand Theft of a Firearm
Defenses that have worked for defense lawyers in the past include:
– Defendant didn’t mean to steal the gun(s)
– Total value was under $950 and was therefore not GTF
– You believed the gun was rightfully yours
– False accusations
At some point in the past, you can bet that one of these defenses has worked and a defendant has walked out of a courtroom with the charges either dismissed or reduced. And even in worst case scenarios where a conviction occurs, there’s a great chance that a defense attorney will be able to spare you prison time. You might get felony probation and at the very least be able to remain free while dealing with a probationary program. While it’s not always a great time, it’s far better than going to state prison.
And remember that this is a three strike conviction and one that is very, very serious. A third strike can mean 25-years to LIFE in prison. If you don’t like the idea of spending your life in prison, join the club, and hire a good defense attorney to defend you against this overwhelmingly serious charge. Strike laws are nothing to ever represent yourself during. You need the help of an attorney who deals with serious crimes and has successfully defended them in the past, not just any old attorney. When you look for an attorney for this charge, make sure they have a record of winning. If they’ve won in the past, there’s a great chance that they’re going to be able to work for you, too, and help you stay out of a strike conviction. Three strikes isn’t all that many for some people. A person with a rough life can quickly amass a couple of strikes at once. So don’t take any chances with this charge! Make sure that you call an experienced attorney today who has represented other GTF defendants and had them come out of the trial or proceedings with a smile on their face. There’s always something that a great defense attorney can do to help. It’s your best chance.