Free Consultation

Complete Our Quick Form

Orange County Theft Attorney

The charge of theft holds a large section of crimes. This can include petty theft, shoplifting, burglary, robbery, carjacking, grand theft auto, embezzlement, receiving stolen property, and many other crimes that have a "theft" component.

Defense of Theft

The mental state of the accused becomes very important in determining what kind of theft charge is appropriate for the case. This also becomes important for the defense as well. Simply put, a person's state of mind could be the difference between a shoplifter and a burglar. This is why an experienced lawyer must look deeply into the evidence in order to establish a solid defense for their client. The pitfalls in theft cases can be great, since some carry three-strikes consequences while others can border on non-probation offenses.

Laws of Theft

In general, a theft occurs when a person takes possession of property owned by someone else without their consent, moves it any distance, and keeps it for any amount of time (Penal Code § 484).
Perhaps the simplest of charges under theft is shoplifting. If the items taken were not that valuable or were in some way necessities for that person's life, then the theft charge which started out as a burglary can sometimes be lessened to an infraction.

The next level would most likely be petty theft. A theft qualifies as petty theft if the total value of the items stolen is no more than $950 (Penal Code §§ 484, 488). There are exceptions to the rule, however. For example, a theft of fruits or nuts only qualifies as a petty theft if the total value of the items stolen is no more than $250. A petty theft is categorized as a misdemeanor. A lesser-known pitfall of this charge, however, is that a second offense, no matter how small, can actually be charged as a felony. This is called a "petty-theft with a prior" (Penal Code § 666).

Following petty theft is grand theft, or when someone takes over $950 worth of something (Penal Code § 487). While this offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony, it is nevertheless serious whereby anyone Charged with it can face serious consequences with regard to their employment or potential to being hired in the future.

Embezzlement is another form of theft that is best explained by example. If a person works for an auto parts store, he is allowed to touch and work with the merchandise he sells. The owner of the store trusts his employee to touch the merchandise but not use it for his own benefit. If the employee takes any of the merchandise and uses it on his own vehicle without paying for it, the act becomes embezzlement. The employee abused his manager's trust to remove auto parts from the owner's possession and put them into his own possession.