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Grand Theft Defenses in California

Theft crimes in the State of California can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A majority of these crimes, however, are charged with a felony. Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, a case will be charged as either grand theft or petty theft. Important factors that will be considered in every case include the value of the property taken or the money stolen and the defendant’s past criminal record. When charged with grand theft, it is critically important to obtain legal counsel from an experienced San Bernardino theft crime defense attorney. The proficient attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP can help.

The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are exceptionally skilled in criminal defense cases, including grand theft and grand theft auto cases. Grand theft charges are very serious, and they can severely impact your life in many different ways. To better understand your rights and legal options, consider contacting the support of Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP to begin building a strong defense. Call the firm today at (909) 894-0812 or complete the online contact form here.

What is Considered Grand Theft?

In California, Theft is the Unlawful Taking of the property of another, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner thereof. California state laws make the distinction between grand theft and petty theft and grand theft has been codified under California’s Penal Code §487.

Under Penal Code §487(a), grand theft involves stealing labor, money, real or personal property of a value that exceeds $950. Under the law, however, the theft of certain items will always be considered grand theft, irrespective of their monetary value. Examples of these items include:

  • Farm products,
  • Horses,
  • Aqua cultural products,
  • Firearms, and/or
  • Any property that is being personally carried by another

Legal Consequences of a Grand Theft Conviction

California law relating to grand theft was changed in 2010. Based on the changes, the theft of the items with a value under $950 could result in misdemeanor charges, with a fine not exceeding $1,000 and up to six (6) months in county jail. When the theft involves items with a value of $950 or more, the conviction may result in a felony and could also carry a sentence of up to three (3) years in state prison. Additionally, a firearm grand theft can lead up to $5,000 in fines and up to a year in state prison.

Possible Defenses in Grand Theft Charges

To be convicted of grand theft, prosecutors will need to demonstrate that the accused intended to unlawfully obtain the property in question. A conviction should not occur when the property has been lawfully acquired. For example, if the prosecution cannot prove that the accused had intentionally attempted to steal the property or if the accused took the property by mistake, a conviction will likely not happen. In many cases, grand theft charges can be dropped to petty theft. Depending on the facts of each individual case, the charges could be dropped to a misdemeanor.

Obtain Legal Counsel From an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Grand theft charges can have a broad range of negative implications in a person’s personal and professional life. If you or someone you know is being accused of grand theft, it is critically important to seek the support of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

The defense attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are experienced in theft crime cases. If you are being charged with grand theft, the firm will fight the charges on your behalf, advocate for your legal rights, and help you get the charges reduced or even dismissed. Consider contacting the firm today for a free case evaluation. Dial (909) 894-0812 or complete the confidential online contact form here.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.