Grand Theft

Los Angeles Grand Theft Defense Attorneys

Innovative Advocates Backed by Decades of Experience

Grand theft is a serious crime that involves the unlawful taking of the money or property of another. The crime of grand theft carries sentences including both fines and jail time, though the specific sentence depends on the circumstances of each particular crime.

If you have been accused of or arrested for grand theft in the Los Angeles area, contact the legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP as soon as possible. We are a cutting-edge criminal defense law firm that has represented clients in thousands of criminal cases and we regularly succeed in getting sentences reduced or charges dropped for our clients. We are not afraid to take tough cases or to go to trial on your behalf.

To find out more about how we can help you, contact us now to set up your free consultation.

The Definition of Grand Theft

Grand theft, also known as grand larceny, is a more serious offense than petty theft. Grand theft involves the taking of another’s highly valued property without their permission, or the attempt to do so.

According to Section 487 of the California Penal Code, grand theft is comprised of the unlawful taking of one or more of the following:

  • Money, labor, and/or property valued at over $950
  • Produce (avocados, lemons, etc.) and crops from a farm with a value of over $250
  • Aquacultural products (fish, shellfish, etc.) from a research facility with a value of over $250
  • A car, firearm, horse, or any other farm animal, regardless of its value

The law also punishes an employee, servant, or agent who steals money, labor, and/or property from their principal or employer totaling $950 or more in any consecutive 12-month period.

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What Are the Penalties of Grand Theft in California?

In California, grand theft is known as a “wobbler offense,” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific circumstances.

How a wobbler offense is charged depends on:

  • The particular facts of the case (How much was stolen? Was violence involved?)
  • The defendant’s criminal history (Is this a first or repeat offense?)

If the crime is considered a misdemeanor, the defendant may be sentenced to up to one year in county jail. If it is ruled a felony, the defendant may face up to three years in jail.

Grand theft also carries with it several “enhancements,” additional time added to one’s jail sentence if specific circumstances were involved with the crime.

Enhancements for grand theft include:

  • An extra year if the value of the stolen property exceeds $65,000
  • An extra two years if the value of the stolen property exceeds $200,000
  • An extra three years if the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,300,000
  • An extra four years if the value of the stolen property exceeds $3,200,000

Grand Theft Defenses

Just because you have been accused of grand theft doesn’t mean you will be convicted. In order to prove your guilt, the prosecution must prove the intent to steal beyond doubt. If you hire an experienced grand theft defense attorney, they will be able to build a defense that will ensure you receive the lightest sentence possible.

There are two main defenses to grand theft charges:

  • Claim of right: This defense argues that the defendant sincerely believed that they were entitled to the stolen property, and therefore did not intend any theft. However, there are two limitations: if the defendant concealed the taking of the property or if the property taken was illegal (such as drugs) it will be hard to argue claim of right.
  • Consent: If the owner of what was allegedly stolen consented to the taking, then there was no theft involved. However, there is a stipulation that if consent was given, the defendant must have acted within the scope of that consent. For example, if you were given a company card to use for a business lunch and then spent the money on something personal for yourself, this counts as theft.

Contact out team of experienced attorneys today for a free consultation to see how our team can help you with your grand theft case.

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