Taking another person’s property is wrong, regardless of what the value may be. However, under the eyes of the California legal system, the value of the property that is stolen will determine the degree and type of crime committed. In other words, if you unlawfully take a piece of gum at the supermarket as opposed to leaving a department store with an expensive diamond ring without paying for it will result in two different crimes with two very different consequences: petty theft v. grand theft, respectively.
Defining Grand Theft Under Penal Code 487 PC
The crime of theft in California is defined as the illegal or unlawful taking of someone else’s property. If the property that is unlawfully taken away is valued at more than $950, the theft is considered as “grand theft” under Penal Code 487 PC.
A grand theft conviction can seriously impact all aspects of your life – socially and professionally. Under California law, grand theft statutes allow grand theft charges to be filed against you even if you made one or two mistakes that, at the time, may have seemed only minor to you.
Some examples of grand theft include:
- Shoplifting jewelry valued at more than $1,000
- Embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from your employer
- Breaking into a house and stealing electronics that are worth more than $1,000
In most cases, shoplifting at a higher end department store, such as Bloomingdales or Nordstrom, can easily invite a California grand theft charge.
The Penalties of a Grand Theft Conviction
The offense of grand theft in California is known as a “wobbler.” This means that the state has the option of choosing whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony grand theft. This decision is generally made based on various factors.
The penalties for a misdemeanor grand theft include a maximum of one (1) year in county jail. The penalties for felony grand theft include a sentence of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years.
Hire a Criminal Attorney Before It’s Too Late
Just because you were charged with grand theft, it doesn’t mean that it will automatically result in a conviction. There are various defenses to this crime that may be appropriate for your specific case. This is perhaps the most important reason to hire a criminal attorney who has the experience and knowledge to devise an aggressive defense to acquit you of the charges and save you the hassle and consequence of a grand theft conviction.
Call an Experienced Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one was has been arrested for allegedly taking an item that belongs to someone else that is valued at more than $950 (known as the crime of grand theft), it is important to seek immediate legal assistance. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Fresno grand theft defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323‐5558 or (559) 449‐1447, or complete our online form.