Have you been accused of a theft crime in San Diego, CA? Whether you’ve been arrested or charged with an offense, now is the time to begin strategizing your defense with Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers. San Diego theft crimes lawyer Peter Blair can help you fight back and work to protect your future. Call us today at (619) 357-4977.
Our firm has provided top-rated legal representation to clients facing serious theft charges throughout San Diego County since 2010. We’re respected and well-known for our ability to achieve the best possible outcomes in complex criminal matters.
Theft crimes can be incredibly serious. The threat of jail time or imprisonment is very real. Contact our law offices in San Diego to find out how we can help you work to avoid a conviction.
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How Our San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help If You’re Charged With a Theft Offense
State prosecutors will begin to build a case against you as soon as you’re arrested. They deal with criminal theft matters every day. Prosecutors know the law, know the procedures, and have experts they can call to help them win.
If you want to get the best results in your case, you’ll need to level the playing field. You can do that and even give yourself an advantage by hiring criminal defense lawyer Peter Blair to represent you.
When you choose Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to handle your criminal theft case, you’ll benefit from more than a decade of experience in criminal law. You’ll have an attorney who knows California’s criminal justice system inside and out – and understands exactly what the state will do to convict.
As we work on your defense, we will:
- Coordinate a thorough investigation into your alleged theft crime
- Analyze the state’s case against you and determine weaknesses
- Gather and analyze evidence to show your innocence or otherwise support your defense
- Bring in experts to support us throughout the process of strategizing your defense
- Help you navigate interviews and conversations with the police, investigators, and prosecutors
- Prepare to litigate your case in front of a judge and jury, if necessary
Our goal is to get the best possible result for you based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. That may involve getting the charges dismissed, negotiating a favorable plea for reduced charges and penalties, or convincing a jury to acquit.
Contact our law offices, conveniently located in San Diego, California, to learn more. We offer a free consultation, so call now.
An Overview of Theft Crimes in California
Theft is both a specific crime and a broad term used to describe similar offenses.
Larceny, as defined under California Penal Code 484 PC, reflects the broadest definition of the crime.
In order to get a conviction, the state must be able to prove:
- You took possession of someone else’s personal property;
- You did not have the owner’s consent;
- You intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or remove it from their possession for an extended period of time; and
- You moved the property and kept it for a period of time.
At its core, theft involves taking property that belongs to another person without their consent. You must also have the intent to keep the property or deprive the lawful owner of its use or enjoyment for a period of time.
In other words, theft involves taking something that’s not yours and keeping it (for a little while, at least).
Theft crimes can involve physically taking property, exerting control over property in some way, or even creating a situation that causes property to be taken from one person and given to another.
For instance, in our increasingly digital world, you might not have to physically steal cash from someone’s wallet. You could hack into their bank account and redirect funds to another account. While you didn’t physically do anything (other than click a few keys), this would be considered “theft.”
Types of Theft Crimes in San Diego
Many different crimes can be classified as “theft” in California. While the specific elements of these crimes may vary slightly, the general theme is the same: taking property without consent.
Examples of theft crimes in California include:
- Petty theft
- Grand theft
- Grand theft auto
- Federal theft crimes
- Identity theft
- Making or selling counterfeit goods
- Money laundering
- Other white-collar crimes
Some theft crimes don’t have to involve a taking. Rather, simply having possession of stolen goods can be considered theft. For instance, California categorizes knowingly receiving stolen property (as defined in Penal Code 496 PC) as a theft offense.
Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft
Theft crimes typically fall into one of two categories: petty theft or grand theft. The primary difference between the two is the value of the stolen property.
Petty theft, as classified under Penal Code Section 488 PC, involves the theft of property valued at less than $950.
Petty theft is traditionally a misdemeanor.
However, the charge can be elevated to a felony if you’ve:
- Been convicted of theft in the past;
- Been convicted of certain violent crimes or sex crimes; or
- Served time in a California jail or prison.
Note this is discretionary and that you can still face misdemeanor charges if all of these things are true.
As defined by Penal Code 487 PC, grand theft generally involves the theft of property valued at $950 or more. Grand theft also includes the theft of an automobile or firearm.
In California, grand theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
What Are the Penalties for a Theft Conviction in California?
Theft crimes are very diverse. The specific elements and severity of each crime range significantly. In California, the penalties for a theft conviction will depend largely on the type of theft crime you’ve been accused of committing.
Here’s a breakdown of some common misdemeanor theft charges and the corresponding maximum penalties:
- Petty theft: 6 months in jail
- Shoplifting: 6 months in jail
- Receiving stolen property: 1 year in jail
Keep in mind that aggravating factors can increase the penalties for a crime. For instance, if you’re accused of petty theft and have a prior conviction, you can face up to one year in a San Diego County jail. That’s double the penalty for a first offense.
Here are some commonly charged felony theft crimes and the terms of imprisonment you could face if convicted:
- Larceny: 3 years in jail
- First-degree burglary: 6 years in jail
- First-degree robbery: 9 years in a California state prison
- Receiving stolen property: 3 years in prison
- Shoplifting: 3 years in jail
In addition to imprisonment, misdemeanor and felony theft convictions can result in fines, probation, and many other significant penalties.
Collateral Consequences of a Theft Conviction in San Diego
The repercussions of a theft conviction can follow you long after you’ve completed probation and served time behind bars. You’ll also face collateral consequences, or civil and social penalties, because it’s on your criminal record.
As a result, you might find that:
- You lose professional licenses, including medical, nursing, law, real estate, or insurance
- It’s difficult to find employment
- You have a hard time finding a place to live
- You’re turned down for loans
- You lose the right to own a firearm (if convicted of a felony or a charge involving a weapon)
The best way to avoid these (and other) consequences is by fighting back aggressively when you’re first accused of theft in San Diego. The San Diego criminal defense attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help.
How Do I Defend Against Theft Charges in San Diego?
The more aggressive and thorough your defense, the harder it will be for state prosecutors to build a strong and persuasive theft case against you.
Potential defenses to theft can include:
- You didn’t take possession of property that belonged to another person
- You are the rightful owner of the property
- You had the property owner’s consent to take the property
- The property was never moved
- You didn’t intend to keep the property or deprive the owner of its use or enjoyment for any period of time
- You’ve been falsely accused
- Constitutional violations, such as an unlawful arrest or illegal search and seizure
Our team will carefully examine your situation to determine if there’s evidence that your rights have been violated and/or that evidence has been tainted by those violations. If there is, we’ll raise those issues with the court and ask to have the charges dismissed or have evidence excluded from your case.
The more we can undercut and undermine the state’s theft case, the more difficult it will be for prosecutors to meet the burden of proof required to convict.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a San Diego Theft Lawyer
Don’t give California state prosecutors an advantage if you’re facing theft charges in San Diego. Call a San Diego theft lawyer so that we can begin working on your defense strategy right away. The more time we have to investigate, research, interview, and build your defense, the more likely it becomes that you secure the best possible outcome.
Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers is ready to help you fight for your future. Call our law firm for help today. We can meet at our law office in San Diego or arrange to visit you at your local precinct or jail.