Theft Crimes

California Theft Crimes

The California criminal defense lawyers of our firm such as Michael Payman Kade, Esq. with more than 14 years of experience will vigorously defend you against theft-related charges brought by the State of California.

Most theft cases involve good, productive and honest citizens simply making a mistake. This is typical with most shoplifters. Michael Payman Kade, Esq. an experienced criminal defense lawyer will work hard to protect your record and against incarceration. If you are wrongly accused of a theft crime or any other crime by the State of California or the Federal Government, the lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael P. Kade will fight to prove your innocence.

Our lawyers at Law Offices of Michael P. Kade criminal defense firm of California have successfully got charges reduced or dismissed in cases such as Petty Theft, Grand Theft, Identity Theft, Receiving Stolen Property, Selling Stolen Property, Burglary, Robbery, Grand Theft of Automobiles, Firearm theft (grand theft firearm), Embezzlement, as well as other theft crimes.

If you are convicted of a California theft-related crime, you may be barred from gaining employment, maintaining employment, obtaining and maintaining State licenses as well as other benefits and right such as voting rights. Even if you later EXPUNGE your criminal records, they may still show in your background checks and cause most employers to stay clear of hiring you.

Most California theft offenses (as well as federal theft-related crimes) are considered “crimes of moral turpitude.”

Fighting a California Theft Charge

An experienced California theft crimes attorney, such as Michael P. Kade can help you defeat or lower the charge and sometimes keep the matter off your criminal record. We evaluate the facts and the evidence and fight for a dismissal by proving your innocence or showing that the evidence is not enough to convict or to prosecute or we may challenge the evidence and witnesses.

If the prosecution’s evidence is enough to potentially lead to a conviction, then we will fight for a lesser charge to keep you from serving time in jail and your record.

Some California Theft Crimes

Burglary: Entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony or any theft inside constitutes burglary in California. If the structure is a home or “inhabited dwelling,” residential burglary may be charged (which counts as a “strike” pursuant to California Three Strikes Laws).

Auto Burglary: Breaking into a locked vehicle for the purpose of stealing it constitutes “auto burglary” under California law.

Carjacking:  If one uses force or fear to take a vehicle from someone’s immediate possession, a California carjacking crime may have been committed.

Petty Theft: Under Penal Code 484 and 488, this is the stealing of property valued up to $950.This offense is a misdemeanor but a second offense can be charged as a felony under Penal Code 666 (Petty Theft with a Prior).

Grand Theft: Penal Code 487 defines stealing of any property valued at more than $950. It may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. in shoplifting cases, this is the retail value of the property not “sale prices”.

Grand Theft of a Firearm: Any theft of a firearm counts as “grand theft”, regardless of the value of the gun. This offense is always a felony.

Grand Theft Auto: Under California law, theft of any vehicle is a Grand Theft regardless of value at the time of theft.

Embezzlement: A person who wrongfully steals or misappropriates property entrusted to him by the rightful owner may be charged with a California embezzlement.

Receiving Stolen Property: This occurs when someone purchases or receives property that he/she knows (or reasonably should know) is stolen.

Robbery: A person commits Robbery in California if he uses violence, force or threats to take property from someone’s immediate possession. This too counts as a strike under California Three Strikes Laws.

 

 

Penal Code Section 486 – Degrees of Theft

Penal Code Section 487 – Grand Theft

Penal Code Section 487f – Petty Theft

Penal Code Section 489 – Grand Theft Punishment

Penal Code Section 490 – Petty Theft Punishment

Penal Code Section 490a – Intended Theft

Penal Code Section 490.1 – Charging Petty Theft

Penal Code Section 490.5 – Shoplifting Punishment

Penal Code Section 496 – Stolen Property

Penal Code Section 496d – Stolen Vehicles

 

 


Penal Code Section 486 – Degrees of Theft

486.  Theft is divided into two degrees, the first of which is termed grand theft; the second, petty theft.


Penal Code Section 487 – Grand Theft

487.  Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases:    (a) When the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), except as provided in subdivision (b).    (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), grand theft is committed in any of the following cases:    (1) (A) When domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops are taken of a value exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).    (B) For the purposes of establishing that the value of domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops under this paragraph exceeds two hundred fifty dollars ($250), that value may be shown by the presentation of credible evidence which establishes that on the day of the theft domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops of the same variety and weight exceeded two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in wholesale value.    (2) When fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, kelp, algae, or other aquacultural products are taken from a commercial or research operation which is producing that product, of a value exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).    (3) Where the money, labor, or real or personal property is taken by a servant, agent, or employee from his or her principal or employer and aggregates nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or more in any 12 consecutive month period.    (c) When the property is taken from the person of another.    (d) When the property taken is any of the following:    (1) An automobile, horse, mare, gelding, any bovine animal, any caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar, gilt, barrow, or pig.    (2) A firearm.


Penal Code Section 487f – Petty Theft

487f.  Every person who feloniously steals, takes, or carries away a dog of another which is of a value not exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) is guilty of petty theft.


Penal Code Section 489 – Grand Theft Punishment

489.  Grand theft is punishable as follows:    (a) When the grand theft involves the theft of a firearm, by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years.    (b) In all other cases, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.


Penal Code Section 490 – Petty Theft Punishment

490.  Petty theft is punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both.


Penal Code Section 490a – Intended Theft

490a.  Wherever any law or statute of this state refers to or mentions larceny, embezzlement, or stealing, said law or statute shall hereafter be read and interpreted as if the word “theft” were substituted therefor.


Penal Code Section 490.1 – Charging Petty Theft

490.1.  (a) Petty theft, where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken is of a value which does not exceed fifty dollars ($50), may be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction, at the discretion of the prosecutor, provided that the person charged with the offense has no other theft or theft-related conviction.    (b) Any offense charged as an infraction under this section shall be subject to the provisions of subdivision (d) of Section 17 and Sections 19.6 and 19.7.    A violation which is an infraction under this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).


Penal Code Section 490.5 – Shoplifting Punishment

490.5.  (a) Upon a first conviction for petty theft involving merchandise taken from a merchant’s premises or a book or other library materials taken from a library facility, a person shall be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each such violation; and may also be punished by imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.    (b) When an unemancipated minor’s willful conduct would constitute petty theft involving merchandise taken from a merchant’s premises or a book or other library materials taken from a library facility, any merchant or library facility who has been injured by that conduct may bring a civil action against the parent or legal guardian having control and custody of the minor. For the purposes of those actions the misconduct of the unemancipated minor shall be imputed to the parent or legal guardian having control and custody of the minor. The parent or legal guardian having control or custody of an unemancipated minor whose conduct violates this subdivision shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor to a merchant or to a library facility for damages of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), plus costs. In addition to the foregoing damages, the parent or legal guardian shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor to the merchant for the retail value of the merchandise if it is not recovered in a merchantable condition, or to a library facility for the fair market value of its book or other library materials. Recovery of these damages may be had in addition to, and is not limited by, any other provision of law which limits the liability of a parent or legal guardian for the tortious conduct of a minor. An action for recovery of damages, pursuant to this subdivision, may be brought in small claims court if the total damages do not exceed the jurisdictional limit of that court, or in any other appropriate court; however, total damages, including the value of the merchandise or book or other library materials, shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) for each action brought under this section.    The provisions of this subdivision are in addition to other civil remedies and do not limit merchants or other persons to elect to pursue other civil remedies, except that the provisions of Section 1714.1 of the Civil Code shall not apply herein.    (c) When an adult or emancipated minor has unlawfully taken merchandise from a merchant’s premises, or a book or other library materials from a library facility, the adult or emancipated minor shall be liable to the merchant or library facility for damages of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), plus costs. In addition to the foregoing damages, the adult or emancipated minor shall be liable to the merchant for the retail value of the merchandise if it is not recovered in merchantable condition, or to a library facility for the fair market value of its book or other library materials. An action for recovery of damages, pursuant to this subdivision, may be brought in small claims court if the total damages do not exceed the jurisdictional limit of such court, or in any other appropriate court. The provisions of this subdivision are in addition to other civil remedies and do not limit merchants or other persons to elect to pursue other civil remedies.    (d) In lieu of the fines prescribed by subdivision (a), any person may be required to perform public services designated by the court, provided that in no event shall any such person be required to perform less than the number of hours of such public service necessary to satisfy the fine assessed by the court as provided by subdivision (a) at the minimum wage prevailing in the state at the time of sentencing.    (e) All fines collected under this section shall be collected and distributed in accordance with Sections 1463 and 1463.1 of the Penal Code; provided, however, that a county may, by a majority vote of the members of its board of supervisors, allocate any amount up to, but not exceeding 50 percent of such fines to the county superintendent of schools for allocation to local school districts. The fines allocated shall be administered by the county superintendent of schools to finance public school programs, which provide counseling or other educational services designed to discourage shoplifting, theft, and burglary. Subject to rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, each county superintendent of schools shall allocate such funds to school districts within the county which submit project applications designed to further the educational purposes of this section. The costs of administration of this section by each county superintendent of schools shall be paid from the funds allocated to the county superintendent of schools.    (f) (1) A merchant may detain a person for a reasonable time for the purpose of conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner whenever the merchant has probable cause to believe the person to be detained is attempting to unlawfully take or has unlawfully taken merchandise from the merchant’s premises.    A theater owner may detain a person for a reasonable time for the purpose of conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner whenever the theater owner has probable cause to believe the person to be detained is attempting to operate a video recording device within the premises of a motion picture theater without the authority of the owner of the theater.    A person employed by a library facility may detain a person for a reasonable time for the purpose of conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner whenever the person employed by a library facility has probable cause to believe the person to be detained is attempting to unlawfully remove or has unlawfully removed books or library materials from the premises of the library facility.    (2) In making the detention a merchant, theater owner, or a person employed by a library facility may use a reasonable amount of nondeadly force necessary to protect himself or herself and to prevent escape of the person detained or the loss of tangible or intangible property.    (3) During the period of detention any items which a merchant or theater owner, or any items which a person employed by a library facility has probable cause to believe are unlawfully taken from the premises of the merchant or library facility, or recorded on theater premises, and which are in plain view may be examined by the merchant, theater owner, or person employed by a library facility for the purposes of ascertaining the ownership thereof.    (4) A merchant, theater owner, a person employed by a library facility, or an agent thereof, having probable cause to believe the person detained was attempting to unlawfully take or has taken any item from the premises, or was attempting to operate a video recording device within the premises of a motion picture theater without the authority of the owner of the theater, may request the person detained to voluntarily surrender the item or recording. Should the person detained refuse to surrender the recording or item of which there is probable cause to believe has been recorded on or unlawfully taken from the premises, or attempted to be recorded or unlawfully taken from the premises, a limited and reasonable search may be conducted by those authorized to make the detention in order to recover the item. Only packages, shopping bags, handbags or other property in the immediate possession of the person detained, but not including any clothing worn by the person, may be searched pursuant to this subdivision. Upon surrender or discovery of the item, the person detained may also be requested, but may not be required, to provide adequate proof of his or her true identity.    (5) If any person admitted to a theater in which a motion picture is to be or is being exhibited, refuses or fails to give or surrender possession or to cease operation of any video recording device that the person has brought into or attempts to bring into that theater, then a theater owner shall have the right to refuse admission to that person or request that the person leave the premises and shall thereupon offer to refund and, unless that offer is refused, refund to that person the price paid by that person for admission to that theater. If the person thereafter refuses to leave the theater or cease operation of the video recording device, then the person shall be deemed to be intentionally interfering with and obstructing those attempting to carry on a lawful business within the meaning of Section 602.1.    (6) A peace officer who accepts custody of a person arrested for an offense contained in this section may, subsequent to the arrest, search the person arrested and his or her immediate possessions for any item or items alleged to have been taken.    (7) In any civil action brought by any person resulting from a detention or arrest by a merchant, it shall be a defense to such action that the merchant detaining or arresting such person had probable cause to believe that the person had stolen or attempted to steal merchandise and that the merchant acted reasonably under all the circumstances.    In any civil action brought by any person resulting from a detention or arrest by a theater owner or person employed by a library facility, it shall be a defense to that action that the theater owner or person employed by a library facility detaining or arresting that person had probable cause to believe that the person was attempting to operate a video recording device within the premises of a motion picture theater without the authority of the owner of the theater or had stolen or attempted to steal books or library materials and that the person employed by a library facility acted reasonably under all the circumstances.    (g) As used in this section:    (1) “Merchandise” means any personal property, capable of manual delivery, displayed, held or offered for retail sale by a merchant.    (2) “Merchant” means an owner or operator, and the agent, consignee, employee, lessee, or officer of an owner or operator, of any premises used for the retail purchase or sale of any personal property capable of manual delivery.    (3) “Theater owner” means an owner or operator, and the agent, employee, consignee, lessee, or officer of an owner or operator, of any premises used for the exhibition or performance of motion pictures to the general public.    (4) The terms “book or other library materials” include any book, plate, picture, photograph, engraving, painting, drawing, map, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, broadside, manuscript, document, letter, public record, microform, sound recording, audiovisual material in any format, magnetic or other tape, electronic data-processing record, artifact, or other documentary, written or printed material regardless of physical form or characteristics, or any part thereof, belonging to, on loan to, or otherwise in the custody of a library facility.    (5) The term “library facility” includes any public library; any library of an educational, historical or eleemosynary institution, organization or society; any museum; any repository of public records.    (h) Any library facility shall post at its entrance and exit a conspicuous sign to read as follows:


Penal Code Section 496 – Stolen Property

496.  (a) Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. However, if the district attorney or the grand jury determines that this action would be in the interests of justice, the district attorney or the grand jury, as the case may be, may, if the value of the property does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), specify in the accusatory pleading that the offense shall be a misdemeanor, punishable only by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.    A principal in the actual theft of the property may be convicted pursuant to this section. However, no person may be convicted both pursuant to this section and of the theft of the same property.    (b) Every swap meet vendor, as defined in Section 21661 of the Business and Professions Code, and every person whose principal business is dealing in, or collecting, merchandise or personal property, and every agent, employee, or representative of that person, who buys or receives any property of a value in excess of nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) that has been stolen or obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, under circumstances that should cause the person, agent, employee, or representative to make reasonable inquiry to ascertain that the person from whom the property was bought or received had the legal right to sell or deliver it, without making a reasonable inquiry, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.    Every swap meet vendor, as defined in Section 21661 of the Business and Professions Code, and every person whose principal business is dealing in, or collecting, merchandise or personal property, and every agent, employee, or representative of that person, who buys or receives any property of a value of nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less that has been stolen or obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, under circumstances that should cause the person, agent, employee, or representative to make reasonable inquiry to ascertain that the person from whom the property was bought or received had the legal right to sell or deliver it, without making a reasonable inquiry, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.    (c) Any person who has been injured by a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) may bring an action for three times the amount of actual damages, if any, sustained by the plaintiff, costs of suit, and reasonable attorney’s fees.    (d) Notwithstanding Section 664, any attempt to commit any act prohibited by this section, except an offense specified in the accusatory pleading as a misdemeanor, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.


Penal Code Section 496d – Stolen Vehicles

496d.  (a) Every person who buys or receives any motor vehicle, as defined in Section 415 of the Vehicle Code, any trailer, as defined in Section 630 of the Vehicle Code, any special construction equipment, as defined in Section 565 of the Vehicle Code, or any vessel, as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any motor vehicle, trailer, special construction equipment, or vessel from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months or two or three years or a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year or a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.    (b) For the purposes of this section, the terms “special construction equipment” and “vessel” are limited to motorized vehicles and vessels.