California Penal Code 487 PC

PC 487 – Grand Theft

PC 487 - Grand Theft

Grand Theft – Table of Contents

PC 487: California Grand Theft

The crime of Grand Theft in California is the unlawful taking of someone’s belongings or property valued at over $950.

Grand Theft, PC 487 is a “wobbler” in California; it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony at the prosecutor’s discretion.

— A felony charge carries a maximum prison time of three (3) to seven (7) years, depending on the value of what has been taken.

— A misdemeanor charge of grand theft carries a maximum sentence of one (1) year in the county jail.

Grand Theft by Larceny/Petty Theft

To be convicted of Grand Theft Penal Code 487 by Larceny, the prosecutor must prove the following:

  1. You took someone else’s possession;
  2. 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, or PC 484. Also, if you stole someone else’s car or firearm, you will be charged for Grand Theft, regardless of the value.

Grand Theft by False Pretense

Another form of Grand Theft is Grand Theft by False Pretense. To be convicted of Grand Theft Penal Code 487 by False Pretense, the prosecutor must prove the following:

  1. You knowingly and intentionally deceived somebody by telling them something that wasn’t true;
  2. You 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.

Grand Theft by Trick

To be convicted of Grand Theft Penal Code 487 by Trick, the prosecutor must prove you did the following:

  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; and
  5. The owner of the property did not intent to give it to you.

Grand Theft by Embezzlement

  1. You were entrusted with certain property by the owner of that property;
  2. The property owner trusted you with respect to the property;
  3. You took or used that property fraudulently or to benefit yourself;
  4. You intended to take the property permanently or for a long enough time to deprive the owner of its value or enjoyment.

Again, Grand Theft PC 487 in California is a wobbler. It can be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony; it depends on the specific details of the case and your criminal record.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

If the crime of Grand Theft Penal Code 487 is tried as a misdemeanor, you face up to one (1) year in county jail.

If the crime of Grand Theft Penal Code 487 is tried as a felony, you face up to three (3) years in state prison.

Gun Involvement:

If you used a gun during the offense, then the crime of Grand Theft Penal Code 487 is automatically tried as a felony.

Prosecuting Grand Theft PC 487

The prosecution approaches each Grand Theft California Penal Code PC 487 case independently because there are many different ways to commit the crime; as the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”

The most common type of Grand Theft PC 487 is by Larceny, meaning you physically take another person’s property. As previously mentioned above, 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

To be prosecuted for Grand Theft – CA Penal Code PC 487, the prosecution must prove that you sufficiently performed each of the elements of the crimes. If the prosecutor cannot prove within a reasonable doubt that you committed each element of the crime, then you will not be charged with Grand Theft Penal Code 487.

Defending Grand Theft – PC 487

Grand Theft – CA Penal Code PC 487 crimes vary significantly from case to case. There are only a few common strategies that your criminal defense attorney will explore before looking into the specifics of your case.

Was it Intentional?

The first element of the crime that your attorney will investigate is whether you intended to steal someone’s property. For each Grand Theft Penal Code 487 crime, the intent is a mandatory facet, meaning if you did not intend to steal someone else’s property, 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 PC 487. Suppose your attorney can prove to the jury or the prosecutor before trial that you didn’t intend to steal anything and were only acting absent-mindedly. In that case, you will not be convicted.

Was it Concealed?

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;” this essentially states that if you took something with a good faith belief that it was yours, you could not 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” is no longer applicable.

Giving Consent

Your attorney will then look into 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 PC 487. However, if you acted in a way that they did not consent, you can be charged with the crime.

For example, suppose you were given consent to borrow your boss’s truck to move furniture for him and then bring it back immediately. However, after moving 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 PC 487 because you used your boss’s property outside of the consent he initially gave you.

False Accusation

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

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is facing PC 487, Grand Theft charges then it’s imperative to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Seppi Esfandi is a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney with over 21 years of experience defending California in a variety of crimes, including grand theft.

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

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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.

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