Theft and larceny law in California

Theft can take many forms subject to the property value. In California, there are two types of theft; petty theft and grand theft.  The degree of the petty crime is dependent on the value of the property.  A person who has committed petty theft can be sentenced to prison for six months or more and pay a fine of $1,000.00. If the petty theft crime is no more than $50.00, then the prosecutor can scrap the case.  An example of a petty theft that is inconsequential, and will not result in a felony charge, is stealing an ice-cream from a shopping mall. However, if the defendant has stolen more than $250.00, then the charge will be a misdemeanor or infraction.

Grand theft is a far more serious crime and can involve burglary, trespassing and pickpocketing personal property, which can include clothing, jewelry, money, credit cards and identity cards.  This crime is often initiated by a close friend, loved one or a family member.  An example of grand theft is the famous case of the Bling Ring, a group of affluent friends that went on a rampage, targeting, burglarizing and stealing from their favorite celebrities’ homes. They stole personal possessions including designer bags, watches and custom designed clothes that were worth over 2 million in cash.

In California, theft is referred to as larceny.  To prove theft, the prosecutor needs to establish the defendant’s intention to steal and attempt to withhold possessions and assets from the property owner.  Once the prosecutor has revealed the defendant’s real intentions to steal, only then can there be a trial.

At times we are tempted to make the wrong decisions due to hardships we could be facing regarding our job and personal life. If you have committed larceny due to personal or financial hardships, you are probably stressed out and looking for help. Consider hiring an experienced lawyer who can help reduce or even drop the charges against you.

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