If someone has been charged with petty or grand theft, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a skilled attorney. Having a Newport Beach theft lawyer who knows how these crimes are investigated and prosecuted locally, and who is respected and well-known in the court system could have a substantial effect on the outcome. Our criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Scott D. Henry could guide you through the process while aggressively fighting to protect your rights, freedom, and future.

We are here to listen to your side of the story to provide you with effective legal advice. Our team could immediately begin a thorough investigation of the facts of the alleged charges. We could consider all evidence and vigorously pursue all possible defense strategies.

What is the Legal Definition of Theft?

In California, an individual who carries, steals, takes, leads, or drives away with personal property belonging to someone else is guilty of theft. This crime can also be committed using misinterpretation or other fraudulent means. These offenses may include:

  • The fraudulent appropriation of property entrusted to another person
  • Defrauding an individual of money, labor, or personal capital
  • Accessing the credit of another person
  • Accessing a person’s property or monetary funds

Petty vs. Grand Theft

California Penal Code 484 PC states that the value of the stolen items is equivalent to “the reasonable and fair market value.” The penalties of petty theft may include a maximum fine of $1000, restitution of the stolen money or property, and up to six months in jail. According to state law, petty theft occurs when someone steals cash or property valued at less than $950. This could include shoplifting if the item(s) stolen are valued as less than $950.

California Penal Code 487 PC addresses the crime of grand theft. The law defines grand theft as unlawfully taking someone else’s property that is valued over $950. It is important to note that shoplifting is considered grand theft if the merchandise is over $950.

Common Types of Theft Crimes

Theft crimes are one of the more common types of offenses in the area. They are taken seriously by local courts and punished strictly. Some common types of theft include:

  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Identity Theft
  • Auto Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud

Our skilled team of attorneys has decades of experience defending clients facing theft charges. We could do a thorough investigation of the circumstances of your case and determine how to best defend you.

What is Identity Theft?

California Penal Code 530.5 PC defines identity theft as taking another individual’s personal identifying information and using it unlawfully for personal gain. Identity theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor identity theft is punishable by up to one year in jail, and felony offense is punishable by up to three years in jail.

Common Defenses for Theft Charges in Newport Beach

If you have been charged with a theft offense, it does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. The prosecution must prove each element of the charge, the most challenging element being intent. Unless prosecutors can prove intent, a defendant cannot be convicted. Some common defenses to theft charges include:

  • Accidental Theft – Many times, an individual forgets to pay or accidentally takes something. If there is no intent to steal, the individual cannot be found guilty of theft.
  • Intoxication – An attorney may argue the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, so they did not intend to steal.
  • Claim of Right – A claim of right defense argues the individual believed they had a right to the property. If the person genuinely thought they had a right to take the property, there was no intent to steal.
  • Consent – A consent defense argues the defendant had permission by the owner to take the property.
  • Framed – It is common for a shoplifter to use an innocent bystander. If an individual was unaware property was, for example, placed in their purse without their knowledge, that individual could not be found guilty of theft.

The defense strategy depends upon the facts of the case. An experienced attorney in Newport Beach could examine the circumstances of the alleged theft offense and determine the most effective defense strategy.

Speak with a Newport Beach Theft Attorney

Theft convictions could have a strong negative impact on your future. If you are being investigated or charged with theft, we understand you are in a dire and frightening situation. Now is the time to seek the expertise of a skilled Newport Beach theft lawyer.

Our legal team has successfully litigated numerous of these cases, including larceny, receiving stolen property, white-collar crimes, and extortion. We know that every case is unique. That is why we could carefully analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding each charge to develop a solid defense strategy.

Your rights, dignity, and future are our firm’s top priority. Please call our office today for a free consultation.

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