Have you been charged with theft? To be convicted of theft, a criminal defendant must have done two things. First, the defendant must have wrongfully taken the property of another. Second, the defendant must have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. Typically when a person is charged with theft the key issue that the prosecution must prove is the intent of the defendant to permanently take the property of the victim. For example, simply taking lost property that one finds may not amount to the requisite intent. However, the jury is allowed to infer that the defendant intended to permanently take the property based upon circumstantial evidence.
Larceny is the same as theft, but pertains only to physical property. Theft can include identity theft and other forms of fraud, as well as related crimes such as embezzlement and burglary. In California there are two types of theft: petty theft and grand theft. The distinction is based upon the value of the property that has allegedly been taken. Petty theft is a misdemeanor, while grand theft may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In addition, if the value of the property at issue is less than $50, the theft may be charged as a civil infraction. A civil infraction is like a parking ticket and does not go on your criminal record. All types of theft carry fines, with more serious theft resulting in jail time.
Theft of any sort is a serious charge. Our society is protective of others' property rights, and taking the property of another is viewed as a crime of moral turpitude. A theft conviction can impact an individual's ability to get a job, to get promoted, or to obtain certain professional licenses.
If you have been charged with theft, you should consult an experienced Los Angeles County theft defense attorney. Even if value of the property alleged to have been taken is relatively low, a defense attorney can help make sure that the charge has as little impact on your livelihood and your future. At the Law Office of Richard J. Beada, we have over 30 years of experience defending people charged with theft and similar crimes. We understand the justice system and all of your options. We will give your case individual attention and work as an exceptional advocate on your behalf. Call us today at (310) 393-7536 for a free confidential consultation.