Los Angeles Theft Crimes Attorney
Learn how to fight theft charges. Read about common theft offenses, possible punishments, and strong legal defenses to theft charges.
Being charged with a theft crime can be a frightening experience, whether it’s an accusation of Petty Theft for shoplifting baby formula or Grand Theft Auto for stealing a car. You may be worried about the possible criminal punishments, including jail, or the secondary consequences, like losing your job or getting deported. It’s important to learn more about the charges, possible punishments, and legal defenses that can help protect you.
The quality of your lawyer can have a huge impact on the outcome of any theft case. Los Angeles theft attorney Aaron Spolin is a former Assistant District Attorney who used to prosecute theft cases; his firm now defends people accused of theft. Spolin Law’s approach includes a thorough investigation of the facts, the filing of appropriate legal motions, and unparalleled advocacy in court. These steps provide the best possible outcomes for clients.
Call Spolin Law at (310) 424-5816 to learn how we can fight the charges against you.
Most Common Theft Cases We Handle
Spolin Law handles a wide array of theft cases, including:
- Petty Theft
- Grand Theft
- Grand Theft Auto
- Receiving Stolen Property
- Possession of Burglars Tools
Theft convictions can have serious, lingering consequences, so it is important to do everything within your power to keep your freedom.
Punishments for Theft Offenses
All California theft offenses can result in jail time and probation. The exact punishment will depend on the crime committed, the facts of the case, and the background of the person accused. Misdemeanor theft crimes (including Petty Theft) are punishable up to six months in county jail and probation for up to five years. Felonies, including Grand Theft, Grand Theft Auto, and Burglary, can result in years or even decades in state prison. Probation is also a common punishment for felony theft offenses. Being put on probation means that you have to regularly check in with a probation officer, your privacy rights are reduced, and you have to follow other restrictions that the judge imposes.
Being convicted of a theft crime can result in non-criminal, secondary consequences. Both misdemeanor and felony theft convictions go onto your permanent record, which can be viewed by potential employers, future landlords, and certain creditors. This means a conviction might stop you from getting a job, apartment, or loan. Someone convicted of a theft crime is also at risk of being fired from his or her job or losing licenses necessary for business (e.g., nursing license, law license, etc.). Certain theft offenses also have negative immigration consequences, including deportation.
Legal Defenses to Theft Charges
Many people are charged with offenses they did not commit. For example, in the context of theft, a person may be charged with Grand Theft when he only committed a Petty Theft. Or he may be charged with a theft crime due to a police mistake, an eyewitness misidentification, or some other confusion. The following are some of the most common defenses to theft charges:
- Mistake in Ownership – If you genuinely and reasonably believed you owned the property that you took, you may have a legal defense to theft charges. The more evidence there is that your mistake was reasonable, the better your defense.
- Necessity – If you stole property because it was necessary to prevent a greater harm, you may have a legal defense to the charges. For example, if you ran into your neighbor’s house to take his fire extinguisher because your own house was on fire.
- Inadvertent Act – Generally you can only be found guilty as a result of an intentional act. If you “take” something without knowing it, you may have a valid defense to theft charges. For example, if a store employee bumps some merchandise into your purse without your knowledge, and you later leave the store without discovering the object, you likely did not commit a criminal act.
- Entrapment – If a law enforcement agent pressures you to commit a crime that you would not otherwise commit, you may have an entrapment defense. A case of entrapment could involve, for example, an undercover officer begging you to steal something, with the officer falsely telling you that he needs the money to pay for his sick child’s cancer treatment.
- Mistaken Identity – When all the elements of the crime occurred, but you didn’t do it, you have a mistaken identity defense. Cases of mistaken identity most commonly occur when the innocent accused person was in the wrong place at the wrong time and may share the race or other attributes of the actual guilty person.
- Other Defenses – Other defenses may be appropriate for theft cases based on the facts, the crime charged, and the applicable law. Call Spolin Law to find out what other defenses may be available in your case.
To learn more about these or any other defenses, contact Spolin Law by calling (310) 424-5816. We thoroughly investigate each case to determine which defenses, if any, can apply. A successful legal defense usually results in a finding of not-guilty for the crime charged or a dismissal before trial.
Hiring an Experienced Theft Crimes Attorney
The quality of your attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of your theft case. To reach the best possible outcome, you need an attorney with both the ability and the desire to fight for you at every step. An excellent defense attorney can have a direct impact on:
- Whether charges are dismissed or reduced
- What possible plea deal is available
- Whether illegal evidence is properly suppressed
- What punishment, if any, is given
- How successful your case is at trial
Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor and award-winning trial attorney, has a track record of success handling theft cases. Spolin Law takes a limited number of clients each year and focuses significant resources on achieving outstanding results for these clients. The firm is known for its thorough factual investigations, tireless legal motion practice, and outstanding record at trial.
For a free consultation, contact Spolin Law at (310) 424-5816. Your call today can help determine the outcome of your case.