Theft is a serious crime, and the consequences of a theft conviction can be life-altering. Anyone accused of theft should quickly work to find an attorney to ensure they understand the charges being levied against them. The two most common theft charges in California are Penal Code 484 and 487, petty theft and grand theft, respectively. The primary difference between the two charges is the value of the presumed stolen property.
Exploring the Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary
How theft crimes are punished depends on the charge; for example, a petty theft misdemeanor conviction can carry one year of probation, six months in jail, and a fine of $1000. There are instances where petty theft can be charged as an infraction if the defendant has no previous criminal history. Consequences for more serious charges will depend on the defendant's criminal history, the charges levied by the prosecutor, and the ability of the defense attorney to negotiate on their client’s behalf. Theft charges like grand theft are considered wobbler charges, which means they can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor based on the value of the property taken. Felony grand theft can carry up to three years in prison.
It can be difficult to differentiate between multiple property crimes, like theft, robbery, and burglary. They are all similar, but they have primary differences. For example, theft is the removal of property from its owner without interaction. As mentioned before, theft has two types, grand theft and petty theft. Robbery, unlike theft, involves interaction between the perpetrator and the property owner and the use of force. The use of force doesn’t have to mean a conventional weapon was used. Force can mean the victim was intimidated or scared. Robberies are charged as first or second-degree crimes. In California, a robbery is considered a felony. Burglary is a type of theft that happens when the perpetrator enters a property with the intent to commit a crime. Curiously, an intended theft doesn’t have to be completed for a burglary charge to be levied. Burglary is also charged in degrees. The burglary of a residence is burglary in the first degree. Burglary of a business, commercial building, or a car is in the second degree.
Grand Theft, Petty Theft, and Grand Theft Auto
In California, the crime of grand theft involves the unlawful removal of property with a threshold value of more than $950. The crime is typically charged as a felony, but as mentioned earlier, it can also be considered a wobble offense. For theft of goods below $950, the charge of petty theft is levied as a misdemeanor. Regardless of the charge, the prosecutor will need to prove the defendant in the case has taken another person's property against their will with the intent to keep it for an extended period or permanently. The theft of an automobile is charged under CA Penal Code 487(d)(1), grand theft auto. If the prosecutor pursues grand theft auto charges, the state will need to prove the car was owned by someone when stolen, taken without the consent of its owner, and kept for long enough for it to deprive the owner of use.
Are You Facing Theft Charges? Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
Everyone deserves an earnest defense when they’re facing criminal charges. At West Coast Defense, our founding attorney Anthony J. Falangetti has over 25 years of experience, with more than a decade spent in the LA County District Attorney’s Office. With a keen understanding of how prosecutors think and charge crimes, Attorney Falangetti can help clients fight criminal charges with enthusiasm and expertise. Contact our legal team immediately if you’re facing theft, robbery, or burglary charges in Long Beach. You can reach our office by calling (800) 922-6989. Our attorney can meet with you for a consultation appointment!