Theft Crimes

GET CONVICTED OF A THEFT CRIME

LOSE YOUR JOB

All Felonies charged in California carry low, mid or high terms for sentencing purposes which usually range from 16 months, 2 or 3 years as “low”, “mid” or “high” terms” for Theft Crimes.  

However, the low/mid/high terms can be much higher depending on the nature of the theft related offense, steep fines as well as “restitution” (paying the victim back) which could amount to 10’s if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Additionally, if you are in an occupation which requires being licensed, a conviction of a Theft Crime can result in the loss of that license, you job (even if self-employed) as Theft Crimes are regarded as crimes of “Moral Turpitude”.  

Many people charged with a Felony, whether a Theft Crime or not, have an extensive “rap sheet” (criminal record of convictions) and even those that do not which can result in the maximum (high) term allowed by law.  

Yet, they foolishly “go with a Public Defender” and then waste their money on posting bail to delay the inevitable– lengthy jail time–instead of retaining the best lawyer they can get. 

Every theft crime is potentially defensible.  Depending on the nature of the charge, there are multiple potential defenses, lesser included offenses, DA problems with witnesses/objective evidence, etc. that only a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer can use to your advantage that neither a Public Defender nor run-of-the-mill criminal defense “negotiator” would know about.

One of the advantages Mr. Karas enjoys is that he was an Business/Accounting major in college.  Having that background as well as broad based, practical experience in dealing with financial matters and handling Theft Crimes, gives Mr. Karas a “leg up on the competition”, so to speak, in evaluating financial documents used in theft related cases to prove the case against you.

If you are thinking of having a Public Defender handle your case, think it over carefully.  Here’s an article (complete with stats) showing why having a PD handle your case would be a big mistake.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you are falsely accused (innocent) or the theft related crime you are charged with is not as bad it seems to be, the DA will not dismiss the charges against you.  Even if the charges against you are true, there may be mitigating circumstances/other factors that can result in a reduced sentence.

Either way, you need a skilled and experienced Trial Attorney like Mr. Karas who knows the law regarding Theft Crimes and all applicable defenses, the rules governing admissibility of evidence, how to confront and cross-examine the victim or other witnesses expected to testify against you, etc. to systematically “break down” and exploit every weakness in the DA’s case and fight for you to get the best outcome.

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Petty Theft is the stealing any property valued under $950.

Penalties:

Although the offense is a misdemeanor (6 months jail sentence and fine of up to $1,000), a second offense can be charged as a felony under Penal Code 666 (Petty Theft with a Prior) and the jail time increases with each subsequent conviction.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Shoplifting is entering a commercial establishment while it is open for business with the intent to commit petty theft.

Penalties:

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor with penalties of up to 6 months jail time, a fine of up to $1,000 and ordered to pay restitution.   

However, if you have certain Petty Thefts (PC 484/488) or other serious prior convictions on your record, then shoplifting can be charged as a felony. These serious prior convictions include homicide, forcible sex crimes and any crime that requires you to register as a sex offender.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

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Grand Theft is the stealing of property valued at more than $950.

Penalties:

Grand Theft is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony.

For misdemeanor grand theft, you are facing up to 1 year jail time plus fines and restitution.   

Felony grand theft carries a jail sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years plus fines and restitution.  

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Any theft of a firearm counts as “grand theft” and a felony regardless of the value of the gun.

Penalties:

You face a jail sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

California law treats theft of an automobile as “grand theft” (GTA) if the value of more than $950, and “petty theft” if the value is $950.00 or less.

Penalties:

While “technically”, GTA is a “wobbler” (meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony), in practice it is usually charged as a felony and carries a jail sentence of 16 months, 2  or 3 years.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

The unlawful taking of another person’s vehicle without their permission is commonly referred to as “Joy-Riding” and is usually (but not always) charged as a misdemeanor on a first offense.

Penalties:

You face a jail sentence of up to 1 year and a $5,000 fine.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

The law regarding Burglary is divided into “first-degree burglary” and “second-degree” burglary.”

First-degree burglary is burglary of a “inhabited structure” (home). Second-degree burglary is burglary of any other type of structure (including stores and businesses).

Penalties:

First-degree (residential) burglary is a felony and you face a jail sentence of 2, 4 or 6 years. 

Second-degree (commercial) burglary is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a felony (usually the case) with a jail sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years or as a misdemeanor with a jail sentence of up to 1 year.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Auto burglary is when someone enters a locked automobile or its trunk with the intent to 1) steal the car (also known as Grand Theft Auto or “GTA”), 2) steal property inside the car, or 3) commit any other felony inside the vehicle.

Penalties:

Second-degree burglary (including auto burglary) is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

If charged with auto burglary as a misdemeanor, you face a jail sentence of up to one 1 year.  

If charged as a felony, the jail sentence can be 16 months, 2 or 3 years.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Forgery is forging, altering a written instrument (check, title to a car or home, last will and testament/trust, etc.)

Penalties:

In most cases, forgery is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The maximum jail sentence for misdemeanor forgery is one 1 year while felony forgery carries a 3 year jail sentence. 

 

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

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You can be charged under any of these statutes if you use someone else’s credit or debit card without that person’s consent, using your own credit or debit card knowing that it has been revoked, expired or that your available balance is less than the purchase price, and/or using a stolen or fraudulent credit or debit card to receive money, goods or services.

Penalties:

Generally speaking most instances of credit card fraud are punished as forgery or as theft.  

When the crime is charged as theft, it is usually the amount of the fraud that dictates whether the punishment will be that of grand theft or petty theft, though some credit card fraud violations automatically qualify as one or the other. 

The exact penalties you would face for each violation are noted above under the specific section addressing the offense. If charged as a misdemeanor (based on the value of the theft), you face a 6-12 months jail time, fines and restitution.  

If charged as a felony (over $950), you are facing 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail time, fines and restitution.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Receiving stolen property is a crime where you allegedly buy, receive, conceal, sell, or  withhold from the owner any property that is known to be stolen.

Penalties:

Receiving stolen property is a “wobbler” and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. However, if the total value of the property involved is $950 or less, then it can only be charged as a misdemeanor and you face up to 1 year in county jail and  a fine of $1,000. 

If charged as a felony, you face a jail sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years and  a fine of up to $10,000.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Embezzlement in California is defined as fraudulently appropriating property that belongs to someone else and entrusted to you.

Penalties:

Embezzlement is a form of grand theft and a “wobbler” meaning that it can charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, embezzlement the jail sentence is up to 1 year in county jail.

If charged as a felony, it carries a jail sentence of up to 3 years.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Impersonating someone else to receive good, services, etc. is a crime.

Penalties:

False impersonation is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

If charged as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 1 year in county jail.  

Felony false impersonation carries a potential fine of up to $10,000 and a sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Theft of US Mail under occurs whenever someone knowingly takes mail that does not belong to them from a mailbox, post office or letter carrier as well as deliveries of merchandise (Amazon, Ebay, etc.) left outside someone else’s home. This crime is also charged when someone knowingly removes the contents of someone else’s mail or knowingly receives or possesses stolen mail/boxed merchandise.

Penalties:

This crime is a misdemeanor and you face a jail sentence of up to 1 year, fine of up to $1,000 and restitution.

Theft of US mail under occurs whenever someone knowingly takes mail that does not belong to them from a mailbox, post office or letter carrier as well as deliveries of merchandise (Amazon, Ebay, etc.) left outside someone else’s home.  This crime is also charged when someone knowingly removes the contents of someone else’s mail or knowingly receives or possesses stolen mail/boxed merchandise.

Penalties:

You face a jail sentence of up to 1 year, fine of up to $1,000 and restitution.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

A person who makes the “unauthorized use of personal identifying information to obtain credit, goods, services, or medical information in the name of another person” can be charged with this offense.

Penalties:

Identity theft is a “wobbler” meaning it can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

If charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to 1 year in a jail and $1,000 fine.

If charged as a felony, you face up to 3 years jail time and $10,000 fine. 

However, if you are prosecuted under the federal Identity theft law, you face increased fines and up to 30 years in federal prison.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Theft by false pretenses basically is lying to someone else in order to persuade them to give you their property or something else of value.

Penalties:

Theft by false pretenses is a “wobbler” and can be either petty theft or grand theft depending on the value of the property that is taken. 

If the property is worth less than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), then false pretense theft is the jail time you are facing is up to 6 months, a fine of up to $1,000 and restitution.  

If the property is worth more than $950 or is a firearm or a car, then it is grand theft and you face either 1 year in county jail OR 16 months, 2 or 3 years in prison.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

This Penal Code section covers defrauding an innkeeper (hotel, motel, boarding house, etc.) by not paying your bill.  

Penalties:

The penalties for conviction for a violation of Section 537 depend on the size of the tab.  6 months jail time and a $1,000 fine if under $950; 16 months, 2 or 3 years if over $950 and charged as a felony.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

Submitting a false or fraudulent insurance claim on a vehicle, home or other insured item is covered under these Penal Code sections.

Penalties:

Most forms of California auto insurance fraud are felonies.  The potential felony prison sentences for vehicle insurance fraud range from 16 months to 5 years. Felony fines can go up to $50,000 or twice the amount of the fraud (whichever is greater). 

Auto insurance fraud (under $950) as a misdemeanor carries a potential county jail sentence of up to one (1) year, and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

PC 186.10 covers money that’s related to any kind of crime and H & S 11370 which deals only with money earned from drug crimes.

Penalties:

Both forms of money laundering are “wobblers” meaning they could be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony.   

Misdemeanor penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and $1,000.

Felony money laundering carries a jail sentence of at least 16 months to 4 years, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of money laundered (whichever is greater).

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

There two types of welfare fraud: recipient fraud and internal fraud.

Recipient fraud is when people provide false or incomplete information in order to obtain benefits, food stamps or Medi-Cal benefits to which they are not legitimately entitled.  

Internal welfare fraud is when government employees play a role in assigning or distributing benefits to recipients who they know are ineligible.

Penalties:

If you are charged with making a false or misleading statement in an effort to obtain benefits worth under $950, you face a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum $500 fine.  Over $950, it’s charged as a felony.

If you have filed multiple applications for the same person, applied for aid for a fictitious person, or applied for benefits using a false identity, you are facing a felony charge punishable by 16 months, 2 or 3 years in county jail and  up to $5,000 in fines.

Accused of a Theft Crime? Contact John Karas.

714-232-0398

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