If you have been arrested and charged with a theft-related crime in California, it is important to understand the potential penalties you may face. Theft crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies, and the severity of the charge will determine the possible sentence and punishment.
Understanding theft crimes in California
According to Penal Code 487 PC, theft is defined as taking someone else’s property without their permission and with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. This can include physical items, such as jewelry or a car, or intangible items, such as trade secrets or software.
Common types of theft crimes and their penalties
The least serious type of theft crime is petty theft. It can be committed by shoplifting an item worth $1000 or less from a store or by stealing someone’s property that is worth $1000 or less. The potential penalties include up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1000.
Next is grand theft, which is more serious and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property stolen. A misdemeanor charge can lead to up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1000. If charged as a felony, the potential penalties include three years in state prison, a fine of up to $1000 and restitution to the victim.
Other serious theft crimes include burglary and robbery. Burglary is entering a building with the intent to commit a crime once inside, whereas robbery is taking someone else’s property by force or threat of force. These crimes are often charged as felonies.
Enhancements and aggravating factors
Certain enhancements and aggravating factors can increase the charge’s severity and the possible sentence. They include:
- Theft from a person
- Theft of a firearm
- Grand theft auto
- Burglary of an inhabited dwelling
If you have been arrested and charged with a theft crime in California, it is important to understand your rights and legal options. Perhaps, depending on the circumstances of your case, you can find a good defense to use to minimize the potential consequences.