The crime of theft is addressed in the State of California under Penal Code 487. The California law defines theft as the “unlawful taking of someone else’s property.” According to California, Penal Code 487, the theft of property is considered the crime of grand theft when the property taken is valued at more than $950. Under Penal Code 487, a charge of grand theft may be filed if someone has shoplifted a piece of jewelry valued at $1,000 from a high-end store or broke into someone else’s home and took electronic items valued at $1,000, for example. If convicted of a charge in California, serious repercussions may follow.
The Elements of Grand Theft in California
For one to be found guilty of this crime, specific elements must exist for a conviction to result. It is the job of the prosecution to prove that the crime did occur by the defendant. According to California law, the property taken must have been in the possession of someone else; you did not have permission to take the property from the owner; and taking the property was done to deprive the owner from using it permanently or to use it long enough to decrease the value of the property. Furthermore, it often is necessary to prove the taking of someone else’s property was done knowingly and intentionally for a conviction to result.
Punishment for Grand Theft
Under California’s Penal Code 487, grand theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. The prosecution decides if a defendant should be charged with a misdemeanor, based on the defendant’s criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the case at hand.
If one is charged and then convicted of grand theft as a misdemeanor, he or she may face up to one year in a county jail. If one is found in violation of California’s Penal Code 487 and charged and found guilty as a felony, he or she may face up to three years in a county jail.
Defending a Violation of Penal Code 487
If you or a loved one have been charged with grand theft in the State of California, it is important to get in contact, as soon as possible, with a highly qualified criminal defense attorney. Working with a skilled defense lawyer will yield the best defense to present in court. With the help of a good attorney, you or your loved one may be able to successfully challenge the charge or charges related to grand theft. There are several common legal defenses that a defense lawyer could consider. These defenses could include that the defendant truly did not intend to steal someone’s property. Maybe, the property taken actually belonged to the defendant first. This can be an argument presented in court. Another defense would be that the owner of the property told the defendant he or she could take and use the item or items. Even still, it is possible a person charged with grand theft is being accused falsely and an attorney can work to prove this in court.