Theft Crimes

Charged with a Theft Crime?

Most individuals who are facing theft charges are honorable people with minimal or nonexistent criminal records; people who are innocent or who made an error and temporarily lost their way.  If you have been charged with a theft crime, please contact Damian Siwek, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at DCS Defense before speaking to law enforcement or permitting a search of your property.  You have rights under the Constitution that need protecting and if you retain us, we will use our familiarity with the nuances of the various theft laws of California to do all that is possible to preserve your rights and secure a favorable result in your case.

Theft crimes include any of the following instances of stolen property:

  • Grand theft auto
  • Auto Burglary
  • Burglary
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Fraud
  • Grand theft
  • Identity theft
  • Larceny
  • Petty theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Robbery
  • Receiving stolen property.

Examples of theft crimes include:

  • Larceny:  The taking and carrying away of “tangible personal property of another by trespass with intent to permanently deprive the person of his interest in the property.” Thus, real estate, services and other intangible “properties” cannot be objects of larceny.
  • Burglary:  Illegally breaking in to someone else’s property with a plan or intention of stealing something from that property.  The seriousness of the crime can depend on when and where the crime occurred, whether or not people were present when the crime was committed and the use or non-use of a weapon.
  • Embezzlement:  A serious theft crime carried out by employees who are familiar with the business and exploit this knowledge to illegally take money.  The significant difference between embezzlement and other theft crimes is that embezzled property is legally possessed or accessed by the person who is embezzling.

A theft charge can carry severe penalties in California.  Charges can range from a minor shoplifting offense at Wal-Mart to grand theft, which can be charged as a felony and may result in a state prison sentence.  There is no such thing as a “simple” theft crime.  It all depends on the circumstances of the crime, such as the value of the property taken, any prior theft-related convictions, or other circumstances.  For example, a theft crime involving the Internet crosses state lines and is therefore charged as a federal crime in addition to a state crime.

Petty theft is charged when the value of the property is less than $400.  In most cases, first offenses of petty theft/shoplifting can be punishable by a small fine and 1-3 years of informal probation (known as summary probation).  In some cases, a first offense can be reduced to an infraction, thus eliminating any criminal record.  A second or third theft/shoplifting offense is a much more serious matter, due to the consequences.  It can be charged as a felony petty theft, also called a petty theft with a prior, and is punishable with a year in the county jail or even 16 months in state prison.

Grand theft is charged when a person steals goods worth over $400 or money exceeding $500.  It is a serious offense and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  With grand theft, you could be facing any number of penalties, including:

  • County jail up to a year
  • State prison up to 16 months
  • Probation or parole
  • Restitution
  • Court-ordered counseling
  • Fines
  • Community service or CALTRANS (highway clean up).

Theft Crime Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you have been arrested or accused of a theft crime, it is important to retain an attorney with experience in theft cases.  There’s no doubt that an attorney who is not as familiar with theft laws or as experienced in criminal defense may miss an important opportunity for dropped or reduced charges, or even acquittal.  It is imperative that you speak with Damian Siwek at DCS Defense as soon as you are able after you’re charged so that we can properly evaluate all aspects of your case and develop a compelling defense strategy.  We have successfully represented many clients in their theft cases and have been able to achieve excellent results in cases that at first did not appear defensible.  We understand how to prepare a strong defense for theft crimes and have the experience to negotiate the best outcome for your case.

For aggressive and effective representation against theft charges, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense.