Theft is one of the most common crimes committed in this area. For this reason, these crimes are prosecuted and punished aggressively. If you have been accused of or charged with stealing, it is vital to reach out to a Laguna Beach theft lawyer. The stakes are high, so you need an experienced defense attorney who could protect your rights while fighting tirelessly to maintain your dignity and freedom.

At the Law Office of Scott D. Henry, our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to advocating effectively on behalf of those facing serious charges. We firmly believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty and we could defend your innocence by doing everything within our power to make sure your side is heard. Acting in our clients’ best interest is our top priority. Let us fight aggressively on your behalf.

How is Theft Legally Defined?

Theft is defined in California Penal Code 484 PC. According to this statute, theft occurs when someone steals, takes, carries, leads, or drives away any personal property belonging to another. This crime may also include fraudulently appropriating money or property or defrauding an individual of money, labor, or property. Finally, theft may involve fraudulently obtaining credit and acquiring money, property, labor, or service in a deceitful manner. Some common theft offenses include:

  • Grand theft auto
  • Identity theft
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Embezzlement
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Extortion

What is Petty Theft?

Petty theft is defined as the unlawful taking or stealing of another’s money or property valued under $950. The vast majority of petty theft charges involve shoplifting, which is the intentional removal of merchandise from a retail store without paying. These convictions carry penalties that can include up to six months in jail, probation, up to $1,000 fine, and restitution for the amount of the stolen property. A knowledgeable lawyer in Laguna Beach could help someone facing petty theft charges defend themselves.

Grand Theft Auto

California Penal Code 487 PC states that a defendant can be convicted of grand theft auto if all of the following apply:

  • The vehicle in question was valued at $950 or over.
  • The defendant drove the vehicle.
  • The vehicle in question did not belong to the defendant.
  • The car was taken to intentionally and permanently deprive the owner.

How the defendant took the vehicle is not relevant. For example, if the vehicle doors were unlocked and the keys were left inside, it would still be considered grand theft auto. This crime is typically charged as a felony and the penalties for a conviction include up to three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Legal Defenses for Theft in Laguna Beach

Theft convictions carry harsh long-lasting penalties. It is important to have a strong and effective defense strategy to obtain a positive resolution. Some viable arguments may include:

  • Consent – You had the owner’s permission to take the property in question.
  • Claim of right – You believed you had the right to take the property in question.
  • Framed – You were used by another to take the property. A good example of being framed is when the perpetrator places an item in your possession, such as in your purse or pocket, and you unknowingly take the property.
  • Intent – You did not intend to take the property.
  • Intoxication – You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the alleged incident.
  • Accident – You accidentally took or forgot to pay for the property in question.

Every theft-related case is unique. Therefore, one of our seasoned defense attorneys in Laguna Beach could thoroughly review the facts of your theft case to build a solid and proactive defense strategy specific to your case.

Consult with a Laguna Beach Theft Attorney

If you have been charged with stealing another person’s money or property, it is essential to speak immediately with a Laguna Beach theft lawyer. Our seasoned attorneys at The Law Office of Scott D. Henry have the experience and resources necessary to provide you with an aggressive defense. Our long-standing relationships with prosecutors and judges help us negotiate effectively to get you the best outcome possible. Contact our office today for a free case analysis. One of our leading defense attorneys could review your charges, explain your options, and determine the most appropriate course of action.

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