July 5, 2024 By Paul Wallin

How To Beat A Grand Theft With A Firearm Charge – Penal Code Sections 487, 12022.5

Facing a grand theft with a firearm charge can be daunting, especially with the severe consequences that come with it. However, understanding the legal landscape and potential defense strategies can make a significant difference. This blog aims to provide you with valuable insights into how to effectively combat such charges and safeguard your future.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can guide you through the legal process. Call Wallin & Klarich today toll-free at (877) 466-5245 for your free consultation with our experienced attorneys.

Grand Theft With A Firearm Charge Under California Penal Code Sections 487, 12022.5

Grand theft involving a firearm is a specific and grave form of theft offense under the California Penal Code. It falls under California Penal Code Section 487, which differentiates between grand theft and petty theft based primarily on the value of the property taken. Chapter 8 of Title 13 of Part 1 of the Penal Code outlines the criteria and penalties for theft-related crimes. When a firearm is involved, additional sections, such as Penal Code Section 12022.5, come into play that impose sentence enhancements for using a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Penal Code Section 487

Penal Code Section 487 defines grand theft and includes increments related to various categories of property, including firearms. For the crime to elevate to grand theft, several conditions must be met:

  • The property stolen is valued at $950 or more.
  • The firearm, irrespective of its value, is classified as grand theft due to its dangerous nature.

Base Penalties For Grand Theft: Grand theft is classified as a felony in California. The base penalties for grand theft can range from 16 months to 3 years in state prison, depending on the circumstances and value of the property stolen.

Additional Enhancements Under Penal Code Section 12022.5

Penal Code Section 12022.5 adds significant penalties for the use of a firearm during the commission of any felony. When applied to grand theft:

  • Enhancements can add between 3 to 10 years to the prison sentence, depending on how the firearm was used (e.g., whether it was discharged).
  • These enhancements are mandatory and consecutive to the base term of the crime.

Important Grand Theft With A Firearm Defenses

Defending against a grand theft with a firearm charge in California requires a comprehensive approach that tackles both the theft and the firearm enhancement aspects. Here are some common defenses that can be effective in these cases:

  • Lack of Intent: One of the primary defenses is to challenge the prosecution’s evidence of intent. The defense may argue that the defendant did not have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the firearm, which is a necessary element of the grand theft charge.
  • Lack of Knowledge: Similar to lack of intent, however, in lack of knowledge defense the defense may argue that the defendant was unaware that the property was stolen or that a firearm was involved.
  • Mistaken Identity: If the identification of the defendant is questionable, a mistaken identity defense can be used. This involves providing evidence that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime or was otherwise misidentified by witnesses.
  • Ownership Dispute: The defense might argue that the firearm was actually owned by the defendant or that there was a legitimate dispute regarding the ownership of the firearm, thereby negating the theft element of the charge.
  • Duress or Coercion: If the defendant was forced to commit the theft under threat of immediate harm, the defense of duress or coercion can be asserted. This defense argues that the defendant’s actions were not voluntary but were instead compelled by another party.
  • Entrapment: In some cases, the defense may claim that law enforcement officers induced the defendant to commit the crime that they would not have otherwise committed. This defense requires showing that the officers’ conduct created a risk that an innocent person would commit the offense.
  • Illegal Search and Seizure: Challenging the legality of the search and seizure that led to the discovery of the firearm can be a powerful defense. If it can be shown that law enforcement violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, any evidence obtained as a result may be suppressed, weakening the prosecution’s case.

Seeking Legal Counsel

Given the complexity and severity of a grand theft with a firearm charge, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the specifics of your case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, and develop a tailored defense strategy.

Importance of a Strong Defense

A well-crafted defense can significantly impact the outcome of your case. It can mean the difference between a conviction and an acquittal, or at the very least, a reduction in charges and penalties. Your attorney will work to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Finding the Right Attorney

When seeking legal representation, look for an attorney with a proven track record in defending against grand theft and firearm charges. Their expertise and familiarity with local courts and prosecutors can be invaluable in navigating your case.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today

If you are facing a grand theft with a firearm charge, you need to contact an aggressive criminal attorney before you bail out. At Wallin & Klarich we will fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case.

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison. We have offices in Irvine, Tustin, Pasadena, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Torrance, Victorville, West Covina, and Anaheim.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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