Grand Theft vs. Petty Theft – California Penal Code 487 PC & 488 PC
Theft crimes are charged as either grand theft or petty theft depending upon the value and character of the item taken.
Grand theft in California (PC 487)
Under California Penal Code 487, grand theft is committed when the value of money, labor, or real or personal property taken exceeds $950. The property’s value is determined by its present market value at the time of the offense (when it was taken) rather than its original purchase price. Property such as paintings and antiques typically appreciate in value while cars depreciate the moment they are driven off the lot.
Under California law, you could be charged with grand theft under certain circumstances, even if the value of the property stolen did not exceed $950. For example, if you stole a car that was valued at under $950, you could still be charged with grand theft. Because this is a wobbler crime, you could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor grand theft under previous law, even if the property stolen did not amount to over $950. However, due to the passing of Prop 47 on November 4th 2014, you can only be charged with a misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen does not exceed $950, no matter the circumstance.
Petty theft in California (PC 488)
Under California Penal Code 488, petty theft is any theft offense that does not qualify as grand theft. Therefore if the value of the property taken does not exceed $950 or the character of the property does not automatically designate it as grand theft, the offense will be charged as petty theft.
California theft attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you are looking for an experienced defense attorney to represent you, Wallin & Klarich can help. With over 40 years of experience and offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our highly skilled and professional defense attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of your case and passionately argue that your case should be dismissed.
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