San Diego Grand Theft Attorney
If you’re charged with grand theft, you face the possibility of prison time and a criminal conviction on your record. Grand theft is more serious than something like shoplifting. It’s a step up from petty theft, and it can be a felony.
California penal law establishes several different types of grand theft. Theft, larceny, embezzlement – all of these things are considered theft under the law. You need a criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances of these laws and knows how to pick apart the prosecution’s case. Stephen Cline is a defense attorney who has been defending cases, including grand theft cases, for more than 20 years in San Diego.
If you’ve been charged with grand theft or any other theft charge in San Diego, you can’t afford to wait to hire an attorney, and you should never go without a lawyer when you are charged with a crime. To talk to a grand theft attorney about the best options for your defense, call the Law Offices of Stephen Cline today.
California Penal Code Section 487 – What is Grand Theft?
In general, graft theft is charged in California when items or services worth more than $950 are taken. This could be anything from expensive jewelry to services you promised to pay for but never intended to actually do so.
There are some exceptions to the $950 value of the stolen property. The following actions also amount to grand theft under 487 PC:
- Taking food/agricultural products worth more than $250
- Stealing an automobile, farm animal or firearm, regardless of value
- Stealing more than $950 from your employer over a 12-month period
- When the item is taken directly from its owner (purse-snatching, for example)
For the crime to be a theft under the law, no force must be used or threatened. If an item is taken by force or the threat of force, it may be charged as a robbery, which is a serious violent felony.
Grand theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, it is punishable by a fine and up to six months in the county jail. Felony grand theft is punishable by up to three years in local prison. For thefts involving items of extremely high value, a longer sentence is possible which can include mandatory state prison.
Grand Theft by Larceny
This is the most common form of grand theft. If you are charged with grand theft by larceny, it means you are accused of taking an item or items worth $950 or more that belong to another person (or a car or firearm of any value). The elements of grand theft by larceny include:
- You did not have permission from the owner to take the property
- You intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or for an extended time
- You had physical possession of the property
Grand theft can occur even when there is consent if the level of consent is breached. For example, if your employer allows you to use a car for work on Friday and you decide to take it on a weekend trip instead of returning it, this could constitute theft under CA law.
Here are some other examples of grand theft by larceny:
- Stealing $1,000 of electronics from the store where you work
- Shoplifting a piece of jewelry that costs more than $950
Grand Theft by False Pretense
Grand theft by false pretense applies if you use lies or deception to coerce someone into giving you ownership of their property. This could mean borrowing an item and saying you will return it when you have no intentions of doing so. It can also mean borrowing money is soliciting some financial assistance with the false promise that you will pay it back.
Any false promise or false assertion that is said with the intent to deceive the person and take their property can be grand theft by false pretense.
In a grand theft by false pretense case, prosecutors must prove:
- The deception was done knowingly and intentionally
- It was done with the intent to deprive the victim of his or her property
- The deception or lie directly persuaded the person to give you their property
Grand Theft by Trick
Grand theft by trick is similar to grand theft by false pretenses. However, in a grand theft by trick case, the owner of the property did not give you ownership of the item, merely temporary possession. The same requirements of deception apply.
Grand Theft by Embezzlement
Grand theft by embezzlement occurs when you are entrusted with another person’s property and use it improperly to benefit yourself. Examples of grand theft by embezzlement include:
- You are expected to deposit someone else’s cash in the bank, but you take it to a casino and gamble instead
- Using the credit cards of an elderly person whose finances you manage without their permission
Embezzlement can amount to grand theft if the total amount of money or value taken reached more than $950 in a 12-month span. This can be any period of 12 months, not solely a calendar year.
Defenses to Grand Theft
At the Law Offices of Stephen Cline, we build each defense based on the unique facts of each case. If we defend you, you can trust that we will build you a customized defense.
We start by seeking to have the charge against you dismissed. If that does not happen, we will argue to have it reduced. This could mean the difference between facing a felony charge or a misdemeanor charge.
Your attorney may argue that you did not intent to deprive the person of their property for an extended period. Intent is a vital element of grand theft that prosecutors must prove. Without intent, there is no crime.
Your attorney may be able to argue these things and more:
- You believed you had permission to take the item due to a genuine misunderstanding
- Perhaps your accuser was the one who misunderstood the situation
- You may have been falsely accused
- The property may actually be yours, or you legitimately believed it was yours
We will take your grand theft case all the way to trial if it is in your best interest. We are also experienced at negotiating plea arrangement if that is the best option.
What’s the best defense in your case? We have to hear your story and look into your case before we know. So if you’re charged with grand theft or any other larceny crime in San Diego, call Stephen Cline today so you can learn about your options and get your questions answered.
Get a San Diego Grand Theft Attorney
Grand theft is not typically a slap-on-the-wrist type of crime. It can result in a criminal conviction on your record. It can lead to hefty fines. It can even result in time behind bars.
You need a high-power attorney fighting to keep you out of jail. That’s what Stephen Cline has been doing for 20 years. He has defended cases of everything from shoplifting to murder. He knows how to build a solid grand theft defense.
If you or a loved one is charged with grand theft in San Diego, you don’t want an overburdened public defender. You want a private criminal defense attorney like Stephen Cline who can put his skills to use to keep what might have been simply a bad decision for staying with you the rest of your life.
Call our attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Get your questions answered and let us tell you why hiring Stephen Cline may be your best option.