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Theft Prosecution – California Penal Code Section 484-488


To prove that the defendant is guilty of theft, the prosecution must show that a crime of theft was committed.  Upon determining that a theft was committed, the prosecution will then decide whether the theft was a grand theft or a petty theft. An experienced Southern California theft attorney may be able to get any theft charges against you reduced or dismissed completely.

Theft – California Penal Code Section 484

To prove that the defendant is guilty of theft, the prosecution must prove that:
1.    The defendant took possession of property owned by someone else;
2.    The defendant took the property without the owner’s account;
3.    When the defendant took the property (he/she) intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or to remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time such that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property;
4.    The defendant moved the property, even a small distance, and kept it for any period of time, however brief.

 

Theft-By Employee or Agent
1.    The defendant was an employee or an agent of the employer or principal
2.    The defendant committed theft of property (or services) from the employer; AND
3.    The combined value of the property (or services) that the defendant obtained during a period of 12 consecutive months was more than $950.

 

Theft by False Pretense – California Penal Code Section 484

To prove that the defendant is guilty of theft by false pretense, the prosecution must prove that:

1.    The defendant knowingly and intentionally deceived a property owner by false or fraudulent representation or pretense;

2.    The defendant did so intending to persuade the owner to let the defendant take possession and ownership of the property;

3.    The owner let the defendant take possession and ownership of the property because the owner relied on the representation or pretense; AND

4.    When the defendant acted, (he/she) intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or to remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time so that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

 

The Prosecution must prove that:
•    The false pretense was accompanied by either a writing or false token;

•    There was a note or memorandum of the pretense signed or handwritten by the defendant; OR

•    Testimony from two witnesses or testimony from a single witness along with other evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant made the pretense.

“Property” includes money, labor, and real or personal property. A false pretense is any act, word, symbol, or token, the purpose of which is to deceive. Someone makes a false pretense if, intending to deceive, he or she does one or more of the following:

1.    Gives information he or she knows is false;

2.    Makes a misrepresentation recklessly without information that justifies a reasonable belief in its truth;

3.    Does not give information when he or she has an obligation to do so; OR

4.    Makes a promise not intending to do what he or she promises.

 

A false token is a document or object that is not authentic, but appears to be, and is used to deceive.

An owner relies on false pretense, if the falsehood is an important part of the reason the owner decides to give up the property. The false pretense must be an important factor, but it does not have to be the only factor the owner considers in making the decision. If the owner gives up property some time after the pretense is made, the owner must do so because he or she relies on the pretense.

Theft by Trick – California Penal Code Section 484

To prove that the defendant is guilty of theft by trick, the prosecution must prove that:

1.    The defendant obtained property that (he/she) knew was owned by someone else;

2.    The property owner consented to the defendant’s possession of the property because the defendant used fraud or deceit;

3.    When the defendant acted, (he/she) intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or to remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time so that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property;

4.    The defendant kept the property for any length of time; AND

5.    The owner did not intend to transfer ownership of the property.

 

Theft by Embezzlement – California Penal Code Section 484, 503

To prove that the defendant is guilty of theft by embezzlement, the prosecution must prove that:

1.    An owner entrusted (his/her) property to the defendant;

2.    The owner did so because (he/she) trusted the defendant;

3.    The defendant fraudulently (converted/used) that property for (his/her) own benefit; AND

4.    When the defendant (converted/used) the property, (he/she) intended to deprive the owner of (it/its use).

 

A person acts fraudulently when he or she takes undue advantage of another person or causes a loss to that person by breaching a duty, trust or confidence.

Theft charges are serious.  If you or a loved one has been charged with theft, it is important that you talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.  At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of criminal matters, including theft cases.  Our knowledgeable attorneys will aggressively defend your rights and fight to get you the best possible result in your case.  Call us today at (877) 466-5245.  We will be there when you call.

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