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Being charged with larceny in California can bring serious consequences. From jail to making financial restitution, you may find yourself paying for this crime for months or years. Plus, a conviction gives you a criminal record that can make life difficult. It’s consequences like these that make it imperative for you to hire an experienced Los Angeles larceny defense lawyer. Don’t let these charges define your future while you still have a chance of getting them reduced or dropped. Speak with a criminal defense attorney today.
Defining Larceny in California
Larceny is a specific subset of theft crimes. Prosecutors must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt if they hope to convict a defendant of larceny in Los Angeles. These elements are:
1. The accused took property that did not belong to him.
2. The property was taken without the consent of the rightful owner.
3. The intent of the accused was to remove the property from the owner permanently or for a significant period of time.
4. The property was moved by the accused even if the distance was not significant.
If any one of these elements is missing from the prosecution’s case, then it’s virtually impossible to get a conviction. For example, consider a situation in which John borrows a leaf blower from his neighbor, Paul. Paul gave consent for his neighbor to take the leaf blower, but when John fails to return the tool for several months Paul calls the police. The police and the prosecutor cannot charge John with larceny because Paul consented to loaning the leaf blower to his neighbor.
On the other hand, if John snuck into Paul’s garage and stole the leaf blower, then the situation would be different. When Paul sees his neighbor using his missing leaf blower a few weeks later he can call the authorities and reasonably expect that John will be charged with larceny.
Various Forms of Larceny Charges in California
Anyone who steals something that is worth a significant amount of money may be facing charges of grand larceny. Typically, it is necessary to steal something worth $1,000 or more before grand larceny come into play. Some who steals property worth less than that may be looking at charges of petty larceny, which may be a misdemeanor.
It is also possible to commit larceny by false pretenses. In these cases, the defendant is alleged to have misrepresented themselves in order to steal property from someone else. Larceny by false promises may occur if the alleged thief receives property by making a fake promise. When someone receives cash in advance of delivering a product that they never intend to follow through with, they may be accused of larceny by false promises. In any of these situations, it’s crucial to contact a Los Angeles larceny defense attorney as soon as possible. It may be possible to cast doubt on your guilt, especially if your defense lawyer gets involved in the early stages of your case.
Penalties for Los Angeles Larceny
With larceny charges the District Attorney has some latitude when it comes to choosing between misdemeanors and felonies. Even the theft of a car may be considered only a misdemeanor if the value of the car is quite low. The prosecutor will thoroughly review the circumstances of the case at hand and the defendant’s criminal history before deciding whether to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges. If you are facing larceny charges and have already been convicted of an earlier instance of petty theft, then you may be looking at a felony charge regardless of the value of the item you are alleged to have stolen this time. The mere fact that you have a criminal theft record is sufficient inducement for the District Attorney to seek a felony larceny conviction.
A defendant who is convicted of petty larceny is facing up to one year in a county facility. In addition, they may be responsible for paying fines and making restitution to the victim as well as to law enforcement for the costs involved in the investigation and prosecution of their case. A felony conviction has similar penalties but likely a longer jail sentence. Sixteen months, two years and three years are all possibilities. This time is typically served in a county jail. However, someone who is convicted of theft of a firearm will probably be sentenced to a similar term in a state prison and may receive a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.
Competent Los Angeles Larceny Defense Law Firm
It’s important to act quickly when you are facing larceny charges in California. Your criminal defense attorney will conduct a thorough, independent investigation that is aimed at uncovering evidence that the police may have missed or misinterpreted. Moreover, your attorney will examine everything about how the police and the prosecutor have handled your case so far. If your lawyer discovers that your Constitutional rights have been violated or that you have been otherwise mistreated by law enforcement, then this can become grounds for having your case dismissed.
It is possible for a capable Los Angeles larceny attorney to provide you with an aggressive defense. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner you can begin to put this incident behind you. Hiring an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in your case, and the attorneys at this firm have the qualifications you’re looking for.