Understanding Theft Charges
With a multitude of theft types, levels, and punishments, comprehending California laws on stealing can be quite the challenge. For instance, what’s the difference between theft vs larceny? What are grand theft charges? Understanding the various terms involved will help you decide how to react if a loved one is charged with a theft crime.
Today, we’re going to dive into the world of theft charges in Roseville, CA. By the end, you should have firm basic knowledge of these crimes and their respective punishments. Let’s get started!
What is the Punishment for Theft?
The answer depends on three elements: the type of crime, circumstances surrounding the crime, and the prior criminal history of the defendant (the person charged with the crime). We’ll outline the different types and circumstances of theft crimes in a moment, but let’s touch on the third point here.
In California law, theft crimes are often classified as “wobblers”, crimes which may be charged as infractions, misdemeanors, or even felonies depending on the individual case details. Part of the case details involve the personal history of the defendant. In general, penalties for theft charges typically escalate for individuals with longer histories of criminal activity. Prosecutors often use prior criminal theft history as a reason for upgrading theft crimes to felonies. On a side note: this is the same reason why probation violation bail (and other bail prices) are set higher or denied for repeat offenders.
Types of Theft-Related Charges
Before we go further, let’s clear up the the confusion on theft vs. larceny. In the majority of legal circles, the two terms are used interchangeably. In others, larceny is a specific form of theft. For our purposes today, we’ll consider them the same thing.
Types of Theft
Charges Related to Theft
- Petit (Petty) Theft
- Grand Theft
Burglary involves entering a home or building for the purpose of stealing property or committing another related felony. These may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on what type of building is involved.
Robbery is a felony variation of theft that requires person-to-person interaction. There is usually an element of coercion, force, and/or intimidate in robbery, elevating this crime to a felony classification.
Do You Go to Jail for Theft?
The circumstances of the crime and personal criminal history are the biggest factors in potential jail time. The value of goods stolen (or attempted) determines whether the defendant is prosecuted for petty or grand theft. One of the most common questions we receive at Cut Loose Bail Bonds is “How much money do you have to steal for it to be a felony?”
For most crimes, the defining limit is set at $950. At and below that threshold lies petty crimes. Above lies grand theft. There are a few notable exceptions.
- Petty agricultural theft crimes are limited to $250 & below.
- Stealing an automobile is automatically classified as grand theft auto.
- District attorneys may have the option to upgrade petty charges to grand.
What is the maximum sentence for theft? Grand theft jail sentencing begins with a maximum sentence of one year in county prison (misdemeanor), though state prison sentences often go longer. In cases involving firearms (felonies), that length may go up to 3 years. There may be additional fines and penalties tacked on to a sentence.
Can Theft Charges Be Dropped?
If you’re wondering how to get theft charges dismissed, the there are a few potential strategies your defense attorney may employ to get the charges dropped. For instance, if you took the property by accident, your lawyer may try to prove there was no intent to steal. Should your attorney prove that either you had permission to take the property or that you actually own the goods in question, the charges will likely be dropped immediately.
There have also been numerous cases where a defendant is falsely accused of theft crime. If your attorney can prove the accuser acted to impugn your reputation or harm your livelihood, you may be eligible for compensation. Talk with your lawyer about arranging your defense.
Need Help With Theft Charges Bail?
With these basic terms, you should be able to understand the situation better if you or a loved one is charged with a theft crime. As always, it’s crucial that you make arrangements with a trusted criminal defense lawyer to take control of the case.
On top of the fines, probation periods, and/or jail time associated with theft charges in Roseville, CA, there’s also the struggle of facing incarceration prior to arraignment. This period can last weeks, even months depending on the charges. Thankfully, our team at Cut Loose Bail Bonds is here to make sure you see as little pretrial jail time as possible. Learn about our services and the different types of bail bonds by calling our helpful staff at 916-663-2245!