Penal Code 487 A is the law that defines the crime of grand theft in the state of California. This is an extremely serious crime. If you are being prosecuted under this law, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
What Does Penal Code 487 A Criminalize?
This part of California’s criminal code bans grand theft. However, what exactly is classified as grand theft? According to the law, with some exceptions, grand theft is a theft that totals more than $950. While one would expect this to only cover items worth more that $950 or an amount higher than $950 in cash, this isn’t the case. It can also include real property and labor. If a person hired someone to perform over $950 of work that was never paid for, this too can be classified as grand theft.
Beyond labor, the theft could be of anything. It could even be crops taken out of a farmer’s field. However, there are certain kinds of theft that are always classified as grand theft even if the value of the items stolen was less than $950. This is always the case for guns and cars. It is also always the case for possessions of any value or cash in any amount taken directly from another citizen in person. The most common forms of this kind of theft are muggings and robberies.
What Are the Penalties for Being Convicted of Grand Theft?
Grand theft is a crime that is known as a “wobbler.” What this means is that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This discretion is left up to the prosecutor. How it is charged depends on the circumstances of the crime. If it seemed like more of a mean-spirited theft, it is more likely to be charged as a felony.
If a person is convicted of misdemeanor grand theft, they could face a maximum of one year in jail. If a person is convicted of felony grand theft, the maximum punishment is three years in prison.
How Our Law Firm Can Help with this Charge
Due to the fact that you could spend years in prison after being convicted of grand theft in California, you should absolutely contact an attorney if you have been charged with this crime. One of the only ways to avoid hard time is through a quality defense.
There are a number of different ways a defendant could be spared in this type of court case. For one, it could be argued that the owner of the property did consent to the defendant taking it. This may seem unlikely, but one of the worst ways to spite someone is to report them for a crime they did not commit. False accusations do happen.
Arguing that the defendant didn’t intend to steal anything is another possibility. For example, a person may have been under the impression that an abandoned “junk” vehicle didn’t belong to anyone and had been left for the taking. This was a misunderstanding, not intentional grand theft.