Grand Theft is defined in Section 487 of the California Penal Code, generally, as a theft of something valued over $950. Under more specific circumstances, such as when the theft was produce, farm animals, or sea life, a Grand Theft charge can be levied over a mere $250 worth of property.
Disputing the prosecution’s accusations against you in a compelling way is crucial to beating back a Grand Theft charge. As a former prosecutor, criminal defense and civil rights attorney Aaron Spolin has insight into how prosecutors approach grand theft cases. Using that experience and drawing from past successes, Spolin Law is uniquely able to investigate the facts and defend clients from any unfair tactics the prosecution might use.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Grand Theft, call us at (310) 424-5816 to learn more about how we can fight the accusations and penalties you are facing.
Penalties for Grand Theft
Grand Theft can be charged as both a felony and a misdemeanor. The decision as to which belongs to the prosecutor, and will be based on your criminal history and the circumstances of the alleged crime. Misdemeanor charges are punishable by up to one year in county jail. Felony Grand Theft Charges can be punished with one year in county jail or 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison, based on the case’s specifics. Some cases, such as those involving livestock, are also punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.
People convicted of Grand Theft may also face other consequences. While some are put on probation and all will end up with a criminal record that will appear on all background checks. Having a criminal record can create many hurdles in your life, as it may make it more difficult to get a loan or find a job. Immigrants may also have their immigration status negatively affected and could face deportation.
It is important to have an attorney help you throughout the process, as it is possible to have a felony Grand Theft charge reduced to a misdemeanor.
Defending against Grand Theft Charges
Remember that the accusations against you are just that: accusations. They must be proven in court by the prosecution before you face any penalties. There are numerous effective ways to defend against Grand Theft charges that include:
- Wrong Person: No one should ever be punished for a crime they did not commit. This defense involves showing that the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the one who stole the property.
- Inflated Amount: In order for a Grand Theft charge to carry any weight, it must be proven that the value of the items an individual allegedly stole exceeds $950. A valid defense could be to argue that the value of the stolen items is below the threshold for Grand Theft.
- Entrapment: It is illegal for police to plant the idea of committing a criminal act in citizens. If the only reason you committed the crime of Grand Theft was because a law enforcement officer guided you to it, you could claim that you were entrapped.
- Inadvertent Act: If you can demonstrate that the theft accusations you are facing arose from an honest mistake, you can be found innocent of any wrongdoing. For example, if you mistakenly walked out of a store with something valuable, your honest mistake does not constitute theft. If the prosecution cannot prove your intent, their case will suffer.
- Mistake in Ownership: If you thought the property you are being accused of stealing was legitimately yours or if the property’s owner gave you permission to take it, you cannot be guilty of theft.
A truly successful defense will end with a not guilty verdict or a complete dismissal of the charges. For more information about the potential defenses for Grand Theft charges, and to discuss your case with an experienced attorney from Spolin Law, call (310) 424-5816.
Speak with a knowledgeable Grand Theft Attorney
The person you choose to represent you can make all the difference in the outcome of your Grand Theft trial. There are many potential outcomes to a criminal case, and your attorney needs to be familiar with each and every one of them. Aaron Spolin has experience with hundreds of cases and has a proven record of success defending people who have been accused of a wide variety of crimes.
Spolin Law is a firm that meticulously investigates all of the case’s facts to isolate which defense strategy has the best chance of succeeding. We fight for not-guilty verdicts or non-jail sentences and, when appropriate, hire expert analysts whose testimony can improve your chances of keeping your freedom.
To learn more about what your chances of a successful defense might look like call (310) 424-5816 to speak with a representative of Spolin Law.