Emergencies often bring out the best in people as they volunteer to help their neighbors and even complete strangers, but some people see emergencies as an opportunity to exploit others -and in many cases, this behavior is not only immortal, but also illegal if it involves looting. If you have been accused of looting, it is critical you contact a Vista theft lawyer as soon as possible.
The recent fires in North County were incredibly dangerous and resulted in a lot of people losing their homes -they also resulted in at least one looting arrest when a woman was caught taking various items from a for-sale home in Bonsall. While the woman’s crime would typically be considered burglary, the fact that she did it during the fire makes it a form of looting, which Vista criminal attorneys explain is defined as any type of theft that occurs during an emergency.
The good news for the woman is that while juries tend to look down on those accused of looting because it involves taking advantage of an already bad situation, the penalties for looting aren’t really drastically worse than other forms of theft. In fact, the only difference is that when a theft involves looting, there is a minimum sentence. In this case, the woman will face at least 180 days incarceration. It’s worth noting that a judge can still waive a mandatory minimum sentence at will and can even sentence an offender to community service instead of jail or prison time. Having a top Vista theft attorney can drastically improve your likelihood of having an alternative sentence or a waived minimum sentence.
If you have been accused of looting or any other form of theft, Vista criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Tristan Ferne