Grand Theft under California Law

california grand theft

According to California law (Penal Code §487) when the money, labor, real or personal property taken exceed the value of $950, the offense is charged as a grand theft. Grand theft requires the wrongful possession of someone else’s property with the intent to deprive them of the value of the item permanently. This can be committed through larceny, embezzlement, larceny by trick, or taking it under false pretenses.

Thus, the offense of grand theft requires the offender to have the intent to deprive the owner of its value. Pursuant to Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (“CALCRIM”) 1800, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant is guilty based on the following facts:

  1. The defendant took possession of property owned by someone else,
  2. The defendant took the property without the owner’s (or owner’s agent’s) consent,
  3. When the defendant took the property (he/she) intended (to deprive the owner of it permanently/ [or] to remove it from the owner’s [or owner’s agent’s] possession for so extended a period of time during which the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property),
  4. The defendant moved the property, even a small distance, and kept it for any period of time, however brief.[1]

To be more concrete, an act of grand theft is committed when:

  • The property taken is of a value exceeding $950.
  • The property taken is a firearm ( see grand theft firearm).
  • The property taken is an automobile ( see grand theft auto).
  • The property taken is an animal such as pig or vegetables such as avocados or olives.
  • The money, labor, or real or personal property is taken by a servant, agent, or employee from his or her principal or employer which aggregates nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or more in any 12 consecutive month period.

Grand theft may be either a felony or a misdemeanor, that is to say it is a “wobbler”. The incrimination depends on the criminal history of the person as well as objective circumstances of the offense.

Penalties

Misdemeanor
sentencing of up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine
– probation with up to one year of county jail time

Felony
– a prison sentence of sixteen months, two years or three years

Moreover, according to Penal Code 12022.6 PC there are some penalty enhancements for the penalties mentioned above. In particular, if the crime is charged is a felony, the potential enhancement will be the following:

· If the loss exceeds sixty-five thousand dollars ($65,000), in addition to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which the defendant has been convicted, the court shall impose an additional term of one year in prison.
· If the loss exceeds two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000), in addition to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which the defendant has been convicted, the court, shall impose an additional term of two years in prison.
· If the loss exceeds one million three hundred thousand dollars ($1,300,000), in addition to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which the defendant has been convicted of, the court shall impose additional term of three years in prison.
· If the loss exceeds three million two hundred thousand dollars ($3,200,000), in addition to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which the defendant has been convicted, the court shall impose an additional term of four years in prison.

The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. If you have faced accusations of California Grand Theft, it is essential to contact an experienced California defense attorney who will provide legal assistance. We handle every aspect of your case, from the very start through the very last court hearing, all for a flat fee rate agreed upon before we begin.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

[1] http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/calcrim_juryins.pdf

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