Orange County Theft Attorneys Answer California Theft FAQs Penal Code 484 to 490.5
What is the difference between grand theft and petty theft?
Grand theft is any type of theft where the value of the property taken exceeds $950. However, the character of the property taken will also affect how the offense is charged. If the property taken is an automobile, firearm, farm animal, or is taken from the person of another, the offense will automatically be charged as grand theft regardless of the property’s value. Petty theft is any theft where the value of the property taken does not exceed $950 and the character of the property taken does not automatically designate the offense as grand theft. Regardless of whether your are charged with grand theft or petty theft, you must seek the advise from one of Wallin & Klarich’s experienced Orange County Theft Attorneys in order to guide you through this difficult process.
How is the value of the item or property determined?
The value of the property is determined by its fair market value at the time the offense was committed (when the property was taken). This means that the value of the item will reflect the highest price the property would have cost on the open market in the area in which the theft occurred. Although this may seem like a fixed dollar amount, the market value of the property can be very difficult to calculate and could result in the filing of unnecessary charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help reduce a charge from grand theft to petty theft if there has been an error in calculating the property’s fair market value.
What if I thought the item I took actually belonged to me?
If the item that you took actually belonged to you, meaning that you were the rightful owner, you cannot be convicted of theft. However even if you mistakenly believed that the property belonged to you when you took it, you may have a claim of right defense to theft if you had a good faith belief that you were the true owner. In deciding whether or not you had such a good faith belief, the court will consider all of the facts known to you at the time you obtained the property. Therefore if you honestly believed that you were the true owner of the property and took possession of it, your Orange County theft attorneys can argue that you had a claim of right to the property and cannot be convicted of theft by larceny.
What is asportation?
The term “asportation” refers to the item being taken or carried away. This is a requirement for almost all theft related offenses. Asportation requires three things:
1. The goods are severed from the possession of the owner AND
2. The goods are in your complete possession AND
3. The property is moved, however slightly
What is the difference between theft by false pretenses and theft by trick?
Theft by false pretenses is commonly confused with theft by trick because the manner in which the property is taken is quite similar. Both offenses require that you obtained consent to take the property from the rightful owner through the use of fraud, deceit or some sort of misrepresentation of fact. However the crucial difference between these two crimes lies with whether you obtained possession or title to the property. Theft by trick only requires that you obtained possession while theft by false pretenses requires that you obtained title or ownership rights to the property.
Can I still be charged with theft even if I returned the property to the owner?
Yes. The crime of theft is complete the moment you took the property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use or enjoyment. Therefore, returning the property will not negate the intent needed to convict you of a theft offense. Even if you deprive the owner of the property for only a short time, you may still be convicted of this crime.
Where can I find a criminal defense attorney in Orange County?
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in successfully representing Southern California residents who have been charged with theft. Drawing from extensive years of experience, we are available to answer any questions you have and are willing to go the extra mile in your defense.
If you are facing prosecution for theft, call our talented and professional defense attorneys today at (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.