What is a Theft?

A theft occurs when an individual unlawfully takes someone else’s property. In order to be convicted of theft, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the individual took possession of someone else’s property, 2) without the owner’s permission, 3) when the individual took the property, he or she intended to deprive the owner of it permanently, and 4) the individual moved the property even if only a slight distance. (PC 484(a))

What is the difference between a grand theft and a petty theft?

If the prosecutor can prove that the value of that property taken was more than $950, it will be a grand theft (PC 487(a)). Otherwise, if the value taken was $950 or less it is a petty theft (PC 484(a)).

While a petty theft is a misdemeanor, a grand theft is known as a wobbler. That means the prosecutor has the choice of filing this charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. A prosecutor will look at different factors when determining whether to charge an offense as a misdemeanor or felony. Some factors include prior criminal history, the amount taken, what evidence they have and certain factual circumstances. Whether an offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony is important because it determines the punishment an individual charged with the offense will face. If the offense is charged as a misdemeanor, the individual is looking at informal probation and up to 1 year in jail. If the offense is charged as a felony, the individual is looking at formal probation and up to 1 year in jail or a prison term of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years. In either case, if convicted, the person would be required to give any property back or or pay for any lost or damaged property. Failure to do so could result in more jail or prison time.

What Is The Difference Between a Theft, Shoplifting and Commercial Burglary

For theft, the prosecutor needs to show property was stolen, for shoplifting (PC 459a) and commercial burglary (PC 459), the prosecutor must show both that property was stolen and that the person intended to steal the property before entering the store. Some facts prosecutors use to show that someone intended to steal before entering the store is, the person had a box cutter or scissors (commonly referred to a burglary tools), the person did not have any money on them, or the person told someone else. Prop 47 created the new crime of shoplifting for a theft of $950 or less, which used to be filed as a misdemeanor commercial burglary.

Heena Patel has worked closely with juveniles, young adults and adults on all matters relating to theft. I have successfully fought for my clients’ rights earning acquittals and dismissals. Having a theft conviction on your record can lead to severe consequences. If you have been arrested for a theft related crime, contact the Law Office of Heena Patel.