PC 487

Grand Theft

Grand Theft Charges

The laws pertaining to grand theft in California, CA Penal Code 487[1], are quite complex. The most common type of grant theft is grand theft by larceny, meaning you physically take another person’s property. In order to be convicted of grand theft by larceny the prosecutor must prove:

  1. That you took someone else’s possession
  2. That you didn’t have permission to take the property from the owner
  3. You intended to take the property permanently or for a long enough time to deprive the owner of it’s value or enjoyment
  4. You moved the property and kept it for sometime

The value must amount to $950.00 or greater. If the value is less than $950.00 then it is a petty theft charge. Also, if you stole someone else’s car or firearm, regardless of the value, you will be charged for grand theft.

The other form of grand theft is grand theft by false pretense. In order to be convicted of grand theft by false pretense the prosecutor must prove that you:

  1. Knowingly and intentionally deceived somebody by telling him/her something that wasn’t true
  2. Made the false pretense with the sole intent to persuade that person to let you take possession of their property
  3. Because of your false pretense, the person let you take possession and ownership of their property

The next form of grand theft is grand theft by trick. In order to be convicted of grand theft by trick the prosecutor must prove that you:

  1. Obtained someone else’s property
  2. Obtained their property through fraud or deceit
  3. Intended to take the property permanently or for a long enough time to deprive the owner of it’s value or enjoyment
  4. Kept the property for sometime
  5. The owner of the property did not intent to give it to you

The final form of grand theft under California law is grand theft by embezzlement. In order to be convicted of grand theft by embezzlement the prosecutor must prove that you:

  1. Entrusted with certain property by the owner of that property
  2. The property owner trusted you in respect to the property
  3. Took or used that property fraudulently or to benefit yourself
  4. Intended to take the property permanently or for a long enough time to deprive the owner of it’s value or enjoyment

Grand theft in California is a wobbler, meaning it can be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the details of the case and your criminal record.

If the crime is tried as a misdemeanor then you face:

  • Up to one year in county jail

If the crime is tried as a felony then you face:

  • Up to three years in state prison

If you used a gun during the offense then the crime is automatically tried as a felony.

Prosecuting Grand Theft

The prosecution has to approach each grand theft case independently because of the variety of grand theft crimes in California. As previously mentioned, there are four different types of grand theft charges:

  1. Grand theft by larceny
  2. Grand theft by false pretense
  3. Grand theft by trick
  4. Grand theft by embezzlement

In order to be prosecuted of either crime the prosecution must prove that you sufficiently performed each of the elements of the crimes. If the prosecutor cannot prove within reasonable doubt that you performed each element of the crime then you will not be charged with grand theft.

Defending Grand Theft

Grand theft crimes vary greatly from case to case. Meaning there are only a few common strategies that your criminal defense attorney will explore before looking into the specifics of your case.

The first element of the crime that your attorney will investigate is if you had intent to steal someone’s property. For each grand theft crime intent is a mandatory facet, meaning if you did not intent to steal someone else’s property then you are not guilty of the crime. If for instance, you accidentally picked up a purse that looked identical to yours and walked away with it then you are not guilty of grand theft. If your attorney can prove to the jury or, the prosecutor before trial, that you didn’t intent to steal anything and were simply acting absent-mindedly then you will not be convicted.

Next, your attorney will try to prove that you took the property because you thought it was yours. California protects its citizens with the claim of right defense that states if you in good faith belief thought that something was yours and you took it then you cannot be convicted. However, if you took something that you thought was yours and then tried to conceal the “stolen” property then the claim of right defense no longer is applicable.

Your attorney will then look into the whether or not you had consent to take or borrow the property. If you used someone else’s property in the way they intended you to do so then you will not be convicted of grand theft. However, if you acted in a way that they did not consent then you can be charged with grand theft. An example may be that you were given consent to borrow your bosses truck to move furniture for him and then bring it back immediately, however, after you moved the furniture you decide to take the truck and drive for several hours and run errands for yourself. This could be tried as grand theft because you used your bosses property outside of the given consent.

Finally your attorney will make sure that you are not a victim of false accusations or mistaken identity. If your attorney can prove that you are not the guilty perpetrator then you will obviously not be found guilty of the crime. This defense is often used when business deals fail and one partner wants to harm the other partner.

If you or a loved one is facing grand theft charges then it’s imperative to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Seppi Esfandi is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and has experiencing defending criminals in a variety of crimes, including grand theft.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

 

References

[1] Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases:

(a) When the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), except as provided in subdivision (b).

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), grand theft is committed in any of the following cases:

(1) (A) When domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops are taken of a value exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(B) For the purposes of establishing that the value of domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops under this paragraph exceeds two hundred fifty dollars ($250), that value may be shown by the presentation of credible evidence which establishes that on the day of the theft domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops of the same variety and weight exceeded two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in wholesale value.

(2) When fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, kelp, algae, or other aqua cultural products are taken from a commercial or research operation which is producing that product, of a value exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(3) Where the money, labor, or real or personal property is taken by a servant, agent, or employee from his or her principal or employer and aggregates nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or more in any 12 consecutive month period. (c) When the property is taken from the person of another. (d) When the property taken is any of the following:

(1) An automobile, horse, mare, gelding, any bovine animal, any caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar, gilt, barrow, or pig.

(2) A firearm.

Recent Victories

Loading Quotes...

Case Evaluation

We Respond Immediately

Call Now For a Free Case Review
Seppi Esfandi

© 2017 Los Angeles Criminal Defense & DUI Attorney Seppi Esfandi | Seppi Esfandi Law Scholarship