If you are accused of stealing in California, the charges will be filed as either grand theft or petty theft depending on the value of goods stolen. It is important to work with a San Marcos criminal defense attorney any time you have been accused of a crime, but particularly if you have been accused of grand theft as the charges are significantly more serious than those involving petty theft.
Grand theft occurs when stolen property is valued at $950 or more, whereas petty theft is charged when the value is placed lower than that. In some cases, a defense lawyer in Carmel Valley may be able to have grand theft charges knocked down to petty theft, particularly if the value of the items is close to $950. Even if the charges are filed as grand theft, it is up to the prosecutor whether or not to file the crime as a felony or a misdemeanor and your attorney can be critical in pushing for misdemeanor charges in these cases. In grand theft cases charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is one year in jail, whereas felony grand theft can result in penalties of up to three years imprisonment.
Depending on your specific case, your Oceanside theft attorney may use a variety of defenses to help you. In some cases, illegal search and seizure, improper arrests or wrongful accusations may result in the charges being dropped. Sometimes, you may be able to argue that you did not intend to take an item, that you simply had not paid for the item yet, or that the item in question was actually your property and not stolen at all. Finally, some situations may require a plea bargain that will require you admit your guilt in exchange for a minimized sentence. Taking an anti-theft class may also help you avoid harsher punishment in these cases.
Every criminal case is different and only an experienced grand theft lawyer in Encinitas can ensure you get the the right defense for your specific circumstances. Peter M. Liss can help you if you are accused of any type of theft crime. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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