In California, the theft of property presents severe criminal penalties for defendants. The exact penalties for the infraction involve the total value of the property and the owner. For example, penalties are harsher for items stolen from government buildings than residential properties. A theft defense lawyer in Torrance, CA can explain the charges and the potential penalties that apply.
How Is Theft Classified?
Theft is defined as an intent to take any item that is owned by another party permanently. The individual who reports the infraction must provide evidence that they own the item. The most common instances of theft apply to personal property, money and real estate. The theft of services involves unauthorized access to utilities or cable television services.
What Is the Difference Between Petty Theft and Grand Theft?
The primary difference between the charges is the total value of the item that was stolen. Typically, petty theft involves property that is valued at less than $1,000. Grand theft or larceny involves property with a value that is over $1,000.
What Are the Penalties?
For petty theft, the defendant faces a fine of no more than $1,000 and a jail sentence of six months. However, the fine is reduced according to the value of the item stolen. For grand larceny or theft, the defendant faces a prison sentence of up to three years.
What Are Common Defenses for Theft?
If the defendant has any rights to the property, they must provide evidence of ownership or their right to use it. After a divorce, each party may have access to a specific property or item. The defendant will need to show law enforcement officers their divorce agreement.
If the defendant had the owner’s consent, it is vital for the defendant to show proof of their arrangement. A limited lease could provide evidence of a right to use the property.
In California, theft of property is a serious offense that requires a solid defense to avoid a conviction. The classification of the offense is based on the total value of the item stolen. Defendants who need the assistance of a theft defense lawyer in Torrance, CA can contact Shook & Associates Inc or visit the website right now.