The misappropriation of property is a serious matter and if something ends up in your possession illegally, you could face serious consequences. However, the matter is far from simple, as it is possible for you to acquire an object without realizing that it is stolen property. In other cases, an item may be planted or left somewhere that makes it appear to be in your possession. Worse still, the property may not turn up at all, yet you become implicated in its theft during the course of the investigation.
Whatever the case, you do not have to handle these allegations alone. An attorney can explain the potential penalties associated with the charges you face and may be able to assist you in building your defense. In California, there are few distinctions between different varieties of theft charge. In general they are separated simply into misdemeanors and felonies.
Like any criminal conviction, having theft on your record can seriously affect your future, particularly your job prospects. Many employers may be unwilling to hire you if they feel that you are unable to be trusted around their company property. Furthermore, theft convictions can come with hefty penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.
There are many lines of defense you can choose and the one you settle on will depend heavily on your circumstances. In some cases you may fear that there is no hope of avoiding conviction, particularly if you know you were involved in the theft. However, even this is not a hopeless case as you might be able to negotiate a plea deal.
By explaining your circumstances and the reasons for your actions, you could greatly benefit your cause. However, it may be wise to consult with your attorney beforehand. Our page on theft charges has more detailed information on the options available to you when faced with such allegations and the steps you can take to protect your reputation and your future.