Penal Code PC 487(a)(2) PC

PC 487(a)(2) – Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species

PC 487(a)(2) - Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species – Table of Contents

PC 487(a)(2) Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species – Overview

Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species, CA Penal Code 487(a)(2) PC, is defined by the state as the unauthorized taking of aquacultural property with a value of more than $250 from a commercial or research operation with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the property. Under PC 487(a)(2), this includes fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, kelp, algae or other aquacultural products.

Like all jurisdictions, theft is a common crime and the California Penal Code has different categories of theft The most common types of theft are CA Penal Code 484 PC, Petty Theft, and CA Penal Code 487 PC, Grand Theft. For the most part, the difference between Petty Theft and Grand Theft is the value of the alleged stolen property, but there are also laws that protect specific types of property, such as PC 487(a)(2) which protects aquacultural species, which is defined as aquatic species that are breed, reared or harvested in a controlled water environment for commercial purposes or research.

Theft crimes can be complicated, and like all crimes, any charges against you should be taken seriously because if convicted, there can be long-term consequences beyond the particular sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you beat your case by explaining the law and working to ensure your side of the story is communicated and possibly persuading the prosecutor to drop the charges when the evidence is weak.

Sentencing for PC 487(a)(2), Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species

Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species, PC 487(a)(2), in California is a “wobbler,” which can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony charge.

Notwithstanding the prosecutor’s charge, if convicted, the judge has the discretion to impose either a misdemeanor sentence or a felony sentence. Generally, felony sentences are significantly harsher and will have more long-term consequences than misdemeanors. The California Supreme Court has held that in determining whether to sentence a wobbler as a misdemeanor or a felony, a judge should consider “the nature and circumstances of the offense, the defendant’s appreciation of and attitude toward the offense, or his traits of character as evidenced by his behavior and demeanor at the trial.” People v. Alvarez, 14 Cal.4th 968, 978 (1997). Certainly, an experienced defense attorney will be helpful in persuading the judge to impose a misdemeanor sentence rather than a felony.

If the court decides to sentence the conviction of CA Penal Code 487(a)(2) PC, Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species as a felony, the punishment can include:

  • custody in state prison for up to three years and/or
  • a fine up to $10,000.

In contrast, a sentence for a misdemeanor can include:

  • custody in county jail up to one year and/or
  • a fine up to $1,000.

As mentioned, the Judge has the discretion to order informal or formal (felony) probation as well. For the most part, unlike felonies, misdemeanors do not have the same potential to impact employment, admission to school or professional organizations, or obtaining housing, and immigration status. While a conviction under PC 487(a)(2) does not necessarily mean there will be ongoing consequences beyond the actual sentence, an experienced defense attorney can help you understand the possible sentences.

Prosecuting for PC 487(a)(2), Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species

In order for a conviction, the prosecutor must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, including the underlying elements for “theft.” In California, a conviction for any theft will require proof of intentionally taking and carrying away of someone else’s a personal property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The actual method of theft can include larceny, taking by trick, false pretenses or embezzlement. In addition to proving a theft, the prosecutor must prove the specific elements of CA Penal Code 487(a)(2) which specify that the allegedly stolen property has a value of over $250 and that the aquacultural species was taken from a commercial or research operation, where the species was being bred, reared or harvested.

Defending PC 487(a)(2), Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species

Defending any criminal charge can be complicated, and in order to win your case, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to start advocating for you as soon as you are charged. An attorney can review the evidence and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, an attorney can persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges by emphasizing the weaknesses in the evidence which would allow you to win your case without a trial. However, if the evidence is strong against you, an attorney can negotiate a lesser charge or a plea agreement which will save you time and money.

If your case must go to trial, the common defenses for PC 487(a)(2) include:

  • lack of intent to steal or permanently deprive the owner
  • claim of right or honest belief that the alleged stolen property actually belonged to you
  • consent of the owner of the alleged stolen property
  • the alleged stolen property is not protected under PC 487(a)(2) (although the property may be protected under a different section of CA Penal Code 487 PC, Grand Theft.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can not only help you beat your case but will protect your constitutional rights by ensuring the law enforcement officers and prosecutors do not inadvertently or purposely violate your rights at any stage of the proceeding.

GTAS – Hire Us

If you or a loved one is being charged with PC 487(a)(2), Grand Theft of Aquacultural Species, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

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