Theft is a property crime and is generally not a crime of violence other where there is a forcible taking of someone’s property such as robbery. Under California law, you can be charged with theft if you steal, carry, take, lead or drive away the personal property of another without their consent or under false pretenses.

The crime can be either petty theft or grand theft. Any item taken that is valued at over $950 is grand theft and most offenses are considered felonies with possible state prison time. An exception is theft of a firearm, which is a felony regardless of the value of the firearm.

Petty theft crimes are misdemeanors. If charged, you can be sentenced to no more than one year in jail unless you have a prior offense; in this case, you could be face felony charges.

At common law, there were six different offenses: larceny, embezzlement, false pretenses, larceny by trick, robbery and forgery. These offenses have been retained in California in one form or another along with a number of other theft crimes.

Theft can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature of the offense, the value of the item taken and whether the offender has had a prior offense.

Some of the more common theft offenses include:

Burglary: This is entering a home or structure with the intent to commit a felony or thefy therein. Entering a home may be a strike under the state’s Three Strikes’ Law.

Robbery: This is a crime of violence and is the taking of property by force or threat of it. It is also considered a “Strike.”

Embezzlement: This is generally a financial crime where the offender had a fiduciary duty to the person from the property, usually money, was unlawfully taken.

Grand theft auto: Taking any car is grand theft and is a felony.

Forgery: Faking or altering someone’s name or legal document with the intent to steal money or property.

These are just of the common theft offenses found in California. If you are charged with a theft offense, contact the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis.

Call now for a free consultation about your theft crime.