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What are the punishments for theft in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Theft Crimes

Some states define theft and larceny differently, but they are the same crime in California. Stealing property, money or labor and services all count as theft. Punishment depends on the value of the stolen property and other details of the crime.

Petty theft

Petty theft is stealing an item, money, labor or service that is valued up to $950. An exception to this is if you used a weapon or force, then your crime is grand theft. If you fail to return borrowed property on time, you might face a theft charge. When the value of stolen property is less than $50, the prosecutor could choose to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or an infraction. The cap on your fine in this scenario would be $250. Other petty theft crimes are punishable up to a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment up to six months.

Grand theft

Grand theft is stealing items and services that are over $950. Using a weapon, violence or threats of violence could classify your crime as grand theft as well. Judges may punish this type of larceny up to three years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Some cases of grand theft are misdemeanors, which have a lower cap on the punishment of one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

Stealing pets

Because the law classifies pets as property, stealing an animal may result in a theft charge. Stealing carcasses and parts of carcasses is also illegal. These crimes are often grand theft under California law.

Taking property with the intent to not give it back to the rightful owner is theft in California. It could either be petty or grand theft. Both types of crimes have the potential to be a misdemeanor, although it’s unlikely with grand theft.