Theft covers a wide range of offenses, from petty theft to serious offenses such as armed robbery and embezzlement. All convictions can have a drastically negative impact on your future, but theft crime punishments can be even harsher. Employers typically do not want to hire anyone convicted of theft out of fear they may steal from the business.

If you have been accused of or charged with unlawfully taking another person’s property, you need skilled legal representation on your side. Our Murrieta theft lawyers at the Law Offices of Scott D. Henry have over 40 years of criminal defense experience and a proven track record in defending those facing these charges. We know precisely how these cases are handled and could build a strong, persuasive strategy to fight the charges against you.

How is Theft Defined?

California Penal Code 484 PC defines theft as taking money or property from another individual, defrauding someone out of money or property, unlawfully accessing another individual’s credit, or unlawfully gaining access to another person’s money or property. Some types of theft crimes include robbery, burglary, grand theft auto, embezzlement, identity theft, and extortion. These crimes are pursued diligently in this area, often resulting in harsh punishment for those convicted. When facing accusations of theft, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer in Murrieta on your side to help fight the charges and minimize the penalties.


Under California Penal Code 459.5 PC, shoplifting is defined as unlawfully entering a commercial establishment during their hours of operation with the intent to steal merchandise or property valued under $950. It is charged as a misdemeanor unless an individual has other theft crimes or serious felony convictions on their record. A misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to six months in jail, probation, and a maximum $1,000 fine. Other court-ordered penalties also may include community service, victim restitution, and counseling.


California Penal Code 211 PC defines robbery as the taking of money or personal property “in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accompanied by means of force or fear.” Robbery is charged as a felony in California and carries penalties that include three to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. To be convicted of robbery, the prosecution must prove that:

  1. The defendant took property that was not theirs.
  2. The property in question was taken from another person’s possession and immediate presence.
  3. The property was taken against the person’s will.
  4. The defendant used force or fear to take the property.
  5. The defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Defenses for Theft Charges in Murrieta

Because of the severity of theft charges, having a Murrieta attorney who can create an aggressive, case-specific defense is essential. Several defenses may be deemed appropriate for your case. Some of these solid arguments may include:

  • You did not intend to take the money or property.
  • There is not enough evidence to support a conviction.
  • You were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator.
  • You accidentally took the property.
  • You had permission from the owner to take the property.
  • You genuinely believed you had the right to take the property.

Speak with a Murrieta Theft Attorney

Facing theft charges puts your reputation, freedoms, and future at risk as the consequences of a conviction can be life-long. If you have been charged with stealing, we urge you to contact our knowledgeable Murrieta theft lawyers at the Law Offices of Scott D. Henry.

We understand how frightening and stressful this experience is and could be there to guide you through the process while advocating aggressively on your behalf. During your free consultation, our dedicated team could evaluate the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense and determine an effective strategy in your defense.

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