Los Angeles Theft Crime Attorney

By definition, a theft crime is when an individual takes possession of another individual’s property without the owner’s consent.

A theft crime offense varies depending on the nature of the committed crime.

Stealing or thievery has different classifications. A theft crime can be a seemingly harmless petty theft or a massive grand theft.

The classification of a stealing crime will depend on the value of the object stolen.

Our experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you find your way out if you are wrongfully charged with theft.

How Can Hurwitz Law Group Help With Theft Crime Charges

Theft offenses are generally large crimes. You can receive a criminal record if you are convicted of a theft-related crime. Fighting for your justice can be a hard win since the victim is heard more than the defendant in most cases.

The best thing you could do is to hire a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. Criminal defense lawyers have substantial knowledge of criminal defense law, and they can help you salvage your case. Knowledge and experience are the keys to winning your case.

At Hurwitz Law Office, our Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer possesses the necessary qualities that successfully win cases. Our criminal defense lawyer dedicated his practicing years to achieving justice for our clients.

He is not afraid to challenge prosecutors and fights firmly to provide the best outcome for his clients. His years of proven success earned him the title of Super Lawyers Rising Star since the year 2018 and was selected among the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers since 2017. This award is given only to lawyers with recognizable talent.

Our outstanding client testimonials speak volumes about the quality of service and output we provide. At Hurwitz Law Group, we value our attorney-client relationship. Our law firm will handle your case thoroughly and provide you with the best outcome.

Our law firm offers an initial free consultation. We will carefully analyze your case and provide actionable legal advice that can help you win your case.

What You Need to Know about Theft Crimes in California

In California, theft charges are commonly encountered. A theft charge can have detrimental effects on the overall life of the accused. Most employers will turn down an applicant with a prior theft conviction.

Moreover, immigrants with a prior conviction can have adverse effects on their status. A convicted immigrant might face a problem with obtaining their green card. He might even be required by the law to pay for restitution.

The state of California has established a diversion program for convicted criminals. A diversion program prevents criminal convictions for a defendant. This program is also known as deferred entry of judgment which can be classified as a plea bargain.

A convicted felon may face several punishments for his charges. This will depend on whether his crime will be considered a misdemeanor or felony.

Most Common Types of Theft Crimes in Los Angeles, California

Theft crimes are one of the most commonly committed crimes everywhere. This is because theft crimes are an umbrella term used to identify the illegal act of possessing another person’s property.


The California Penal Code Section 484 identifies petty theft as stealing property valued at $950 or less. According to the law, the element of petty theft should include the intent to steal an item, and the value of property stolen is below $950. Both elements would be needed to be met to consider petty theft.

Petty thefts can be from stolen money, property, or labor. It just needs to meet the given element by the law to identify as petty theft.

In most cases, petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by imprisonment in Los Angeles county jail of up to six months. A defendant will also need to pay $1,000 for fines.

A convicted thief with a prior criminal record may face felony charges for petty theft. A felony charge for petty theft is punishable by imprisonment in California state prison.


The California Penal Code 487 is the law governing the identification and punishment for grand theft. The law defines grand theft as stealing a property valued at more than $950. Similar to petty theft, grand theft requires the thief to meet the elements to validate the crime.

As stated in the law, the elements of a grand theft include the intent to steal, and the value of the stolen item should be greater than $950. Generally speaking, grand theft is considered a wobbler. This means that a case can either be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the crime.

A misdemeanor grand theft is punishable with up to three years of probation and six months imprisonment. A felon may be charged $1,000 for fines.

A felony grand theft, on the other hand, is punishable by imprisonment of up to sixteen months or three years. The gravity of the punishment solely depends on the nature of the case.


California Penal Code 211 defines robbery. A robbery differs from petty or grand theft by how the thief did the thievery. A particular element of robbery includes using physical force or fear to take ownership of a property.

A robber will often use a weapon to frighten his victim. Aside from physical assault, other elements of robbery include forcibly taking an item with an intent to permanently deprive the owner of his property.

A robbery is classified as a first-degree robbery or a second-degree robbery. A first-degree robbery should take place near an ATM, inside a public vehicle, or in any inhabitable building. A second-degree robbery takes place in any area other than the ones stated above.

Robbery is a felony theft crime. This is punishable by five years or up to nine years in state prison and a fine of $10,000. Under the California Three Strikes Law, a robbery is considered a ‘strike.’


Burglary is defined in Penal Code 459 up to 460. Under these laws, burglary is defined as illegally entering a commercial or residential unit to commit theft.

Similar to robbery, burglary has two classifications. First-degree burglary is also known as residential burglary. By the name, it is a burglary crime committed in a residential space. On the other hand, second-degree burglary is a theft crime committed in a commercial area. This is also known as commercial burglary.

First-degree burglary is a felony charge. The punishment for a felony residential burglary is imprisonment in state prison for up to six years.

Second-degree burglary is a wobbler. It can either be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the judgment of the court. A felony commercial burglary is punishable by up to three years in county jail. In a misdemeanor case, the convict will be imprisoned for one year in county jail.


Auto theft or burglary is also described in Penal Code 459. The state of California recognizes grand theft auto as the intent to steal a locked motor vehicle.

The law identifies car theft as breaking into a locked automobile with the use of force. To prove a grand theft auto, the victim must prove that the defendant intends to take unconsented ownership of the car.

Under California Law, auto theft is classified as second-degree burglary. This means that a car thief will face a similar punishment to a second-degree burglar.


Penal Code 530.5 is the law governing identity theft. Fraudulent use of another person’s identity should have the element of purposeful acquiring of personal information. The defendant should have the intention to use this information fraudulently to acquire the victim’s personal property.

Identity theft is a wobbler case. If classified as a misdemeanor, the defendant will face imprisonment of up to three years. For misdemeanor cases, the victim is punished with a one year jail time.


Receiving stolen property is identified in Penal code 496. The law described receiving stolen property as purposefully buying or acquiring stolen properties. A defendant must have the knowledge that the acquired property is a product of theft.

A defendant can be charged with stolen property crimes if they have the intention to sell the item. The defendant must also intend to hide the fact that the item he is selling is stolen property.

Receiving stolen property is a wobbler case in California. If the property value stolen amounts to $950 or less, it is considered a misdemeanor. If the value amounts to greater than $950, then the charge can progress as a felony.

Misdemeanors are punished with one year jail time in Los Angeles county jail. Conversely, a felony offense is punishable by three years in California state prison.


California Penal Code 215 is the law surrounding carjacking crimes. The law identifies carjacking as a felony theft offense.

To qualify as carjacking, the offender will need to meet the elements stated by the law. The defendant must have a clear intention to take possession of a car from an owner. A defendant must also use fear or force to take the motor vehicle from the owner.

Carjacking is also a strike under the California Three Strike Law. After meeting the third strike in the three-strikes law, a defendant will face up to 25-years imprisonment.


A white-collar theft crime is a broad term encompassing crimes that are not violent but use deception and fraud to steal property. Depending on the crime committed, a white-collar crime can be punishable at the state level.

The following crimes are classic examples of a white-collar crime:

  • Identity theft
  • Fraud (Bank fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud)
  • Money laundering
  • Embezzlement
  • Intellectual property theft

Since white-collar crimes have a broad and general definition, the punishment for white-collar crimes is not specific. Some of these are felony theft crimes, while some are misdemeanors. The severity of punishment mainly depends on the nature of the case.


Theft offenses cover a wide array of staling crimes. As time progress, convicts devise new ways to commit theft. Because of this, the law needs to enforce new rules to oversee other theft crimes.

Some examples of the theft crimes not mentioned above are as follows:

  • Money laundering. California Penal Code 186.10 states the definition for Money laundering. This law also sets a description for money laundering punishments.
  • Embezzlement. California Penal Code 503 is the law governing embezzlement crimes.
  • Credit card fraud. California Penal Code 484 surrounds the regulations and punishment for credit card fraudsters.
  • Possession of burglary tools: California Penal Code 466 provides the legal actions against possession of burglary tools.

Legal Penalties for Theft Crimes in Los Angeles, CA

As established above, the penalties for theft cases vary depending on the origin of the crime committed. Some theft crimes may only be a misdemeanor, while some are considered a felony.

However, wobbler cases exist. This means that an offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the crime.

Generally speaking, misdemeanor cases may face up to six months of jail in Los Angeles county jail. Misdemeanor cases may also have $1,000 penalty fines. Conversely, most felony charges generally have a punishment of three years imprisonment in state prison. A felon may even be required to pay a maximum of $10,000 penalty fines.

It is always better to consult with a criminal defense attorney who can properly assess your case. They may give you an idea about the punishment you might face depending on your case.

Common Defenses Against Theft Crime Charges

A defendant in a theft crime has the legal right to defend himself of any accusations. Some of the most common defenses a defendant can use are as follows:

  • Lack of intent. A defendant can raise an argument that he lacks the plan to steal property. The court cannot incriminate a defendant who does not meet the essential element in a theft crime, the intent to steal.
  • Accidentally stealing a property. If a defendant mistakenly takes an item thinking it was his, the defendant lacks the intent to steal. A lack of purpose cannot be considered theft.
  • False accusation. If a victim mistakenly identifies your action as theft, it is considered a false accusation. False accusation is a different crime on its own. But, in theft crime defense, false accusation is not a valid reason to incriminate a defendant.

These are just some examples of classic legal defenses a defendant can use before the court. Along with these defenses, the defendant would still need proof to support his innocence.

Contact Our Aggressive Los Angeles Theft Crimes Attorney Today

Theft offenses are heavy accusations with heavy consequences. An individual should not suffer from false accusations. Our criminal defense lawyer at Hurwitz Law Group understands your situation. Our law firm is dedicated to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their cases.

If you find yourself in this challenging situation, give us a call now at (323) 310-9677, or you may also fill up this form. We offer a free case consultation. We will carefully evaluate every aspect of your case and provide expert legal advice to help you with your case.

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