Los Angeles Theft Attorney
If you need a Los Angeles theft lawyer, contact the Hurwitz Law Group office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We will review the charges against you and assess the details of your situation to build a viable defense.
Theft, also known as larceny, is the unlawful taking of another party’s personal property, but this is a broad definition that encompasses several types of commodities. Theft can include the unlawful taking of money, personal property, real property, or the value of provided goods and services. It’s vital for all Californians to understand the laws surrounding larceny and what to do when facing larceny charges. The Hurwitz Law Group is one of the most successful defense firms in the area with a higher-than-average success rate in criminal defense cases. Review the following information and keep our firm in mind if you require the services of a Los Angeles theft lawyer.
Punishments for Larceny in California
The severity of a theft charge and the subsequent penalties largely depend on the value of the stolen items or property in question and the offender’s criminal record. Repeat offenders generally face harsher penalties than first-timers. The line between misdemeanor larceny and felony larceny can also depend on the type of items stolen. Chapter 5, Sections 484 through 509.2 of the California Penal Code outlines the definitions of types of larceny and their punishments.
Petty larceny applies to thefts of property valued under $950 and is punishable by up to six months in county jail and fines up to $1,000. In cases involving theft of items valued at less than $50, the judge may issue a misdemeanor sentence and $250 fine or alternative penalties. Prosecutors will make different recommendations considering an offender’s prior criminal history.
Grand larceny applies to any theft of property valued over $950 and is punishable by up to one year in county jail for felony sentencing. A judge may issue a sentence of anywhere from six months to three years and may require the offender to serve his or her sentence in state prison rather than county jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding the grand larceny and the offender’s past convictions.
Defending Against Larceny Charges
There are several possible defenses against larceny charges in California. Some of the ways an individual accused of larceny can avoid conviction or receive reduced charges include:
- Mistake of fact or law. Unlike most other states, California considers unfamiliarity with state laws a viable excuse in some criminal proceedings.
- Claim of ownership or right of possession. If the defendant can prove he or she has a legitimate claim to the property in question, it can lead to dismissal of larceny charges.
- Owner’s consent. The defendant must be able to prove the rightful owner of the property allowed the defendant access to the property or gave the property to the defendant.
- Law enforcement cannot subversively coerce an individual into committing a crime that he or she otherwise would not commit.
- Intoxication or lack of intent. An individual under the influence of alcohol or other drugs may escape larceny charges if his or her defense attorney can prove that the defendant did not actually intend to steal the property in question. In cases like this, the judge may decree the defendant must restore the property in question and attend a substance abuse treatment program in lieu of criminal sentencing.
There are many ways the right defense attorney can make a tremendous difference for those wrongfully accused of larceny. A larceny charge at either the misdemeanor or felony level can lead to serious complications later when it comes to purchasing firearms and obtaining certain types of employment, so finding the right lawyer in these situations is crucial.