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California Larceny Lawyer

Do I Need To Find A Larceny Attorney?

The crime of “theft” is broadly defined as taking possession of someone else’s property without their permission, intending to deprive the true owner of that property. There are different kinds of theft that are prosecuted under California law. For example, “petty theft” – also known as petty larceny – is punishable under PC 484. “Grand theft” – also known as grand larceny – is punishable under PC 487. If you’ve been accused of a larceny offense, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney serving the area. Call My Rights Law‘s theft attorneys at (888) 702-8882 or leave us a message on our secure web form for a free consultation today.

What Is Larceny?

Larceny is basically considered theft in California. Depending on the stolen property’s value, larceny could be petty theft or grand theft. Petty theft is for property valued at $950 or below, while grand theft relates to property worth more than $950. [1]

Some types of stolen property could result in grand theft charges regardless of value. For example, if you take someone’s property directly from their body, it could also be considered grand theft regardless of the property’s value.

Further, California considered theft of the following to be grand theft irrespective of value:

  • Guns
  • Cars
  • Livestock, like lambs and horses
  • Resources that can be possessed as real property, including water, minerals, or oil obtained from another’s land
  • Specific kinds of agricultural products, such as farm crops, orchard crops, and fish

Per California law, you can be charged with grand theft for stealing someone else’s property, cash, or work valued at $950 or more. Under more specific cases, such as when the theft was produce, farm animals, or ocean life, a grand theft charge can be assessed over a mere $250 worth of property.

Examples of grand theft include:

  • Borrowing a family member’s vehicle and keeping it for an extended time
  • Stealing $1,000 worth of goods from a store [2]
  • Taking more than $250 of shrimp from a market
  • Stealing someone else’s puppy that is valued at more than $950

California theft crimes are defined by the amount of loss and how the item of value is taken. Some California theft crimes are misdemeanors, but the majority are considered severe enough to be charged as felonies.

Grand theft under California law is defined as the illegal or unlawful taking of another person’s property, which is valued at over $950. This crime can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The prosecutor will use certain factors to determine whether to file as a misdemeanor or a felony in most circumstances. These factors include your criminal history, the value of the item taken, and whether a weapon was used. The more severe the crime, the more likely the offense will be charged as a felony.

If the item taken is valued at $950 or less, the crime is considered a California petty theft in violation of California Law. This crime is a misdemeanor.

Under certain circumstances, the property’s value is not considered, and the charge is almost always a felony. Some of these examples include the following:

  1. Grand Theft Firearm: When the item taken is a gun.
  2. Grand Theft Auto: When the item taken is a car, plane, or another mode of transportation.
  3. Certain Animals: Such as horses or livestock.
  4. Certain Farm Products: Such as avocados or other produce.
  5. Grand Theft Person: When the property was taken when personally carried or possessed by another person.

A person can commit grand theft by directly taking the property away from another person. This is called larceny and is most likely seen in petty theft. Nevertheless, grand theft can also be accomplished by taking property entrusted to you, by embezzlement, trick, or theft by false pretenses.

Consequences For Committing Larceny

Criminal larceny in California is called theft, and because theft is a wobbler offense, it could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a misdemeanor larceny conviction, you face up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. For a felony grand theft conviction, you face up to 3 years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.

Building A Defense Through An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

There are two primary ways our legal team can mitigate the risk that you’ll face negative consequences due to the larceny charges you’re facing. First, we can potentially mount an affirmative defense, which can keep the prosecution from meeting its burden of proof related to all the elements of your alleged crime. For example, suppose you had the property owner’s consent to take the property, you didn’t intend to deprive the owner of their ownership, or the property is – in fact – yours. In those cases, we can argue that the prosecutor can’t possibly meet their burden of proof as required by law.

Second, we can employ procedural tactics – such as excluding evidence that authorities seized in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights – making it much more difficult for prosecutors to prove their case more generally.

Call My Rights Law’s Larceny Lawyers Today

Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense, a felony, or a “wobbler” that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, it is critically important that you treat the charges against you with great seriousness. Even a misdemeanor conviction could burden you with a lifelong struggle to obtain employment, housing, and financing due to your criminal record. The consequences and stigma associated with a criminal conviction are best avoided, whenever possible.

Allow our experienced legal team to advocate on your behalf. We can start protecting your rights and preserving your legal options as soon as we’ve been alerted to your circumstances. If you haven’t already done so, call My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 or by filling out our secure web form for a free consultation today so that we can start building a strong defense on your behalf.

[1] California Penal Code 487.
[2] CALCRIM 1801. See also People v. Romanowski (2017) 2 Cal.5th 903.

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