What is Grand theft in California? – Charges, Punishment and Defense

What is Grand Theft?

Grand theft is a criminal offense in which property is taken from another person or entity, unlawfully and without consent. It can also be defined as any theft that involves the taking of property or money from an individual’s person, vehicle, home, or place of business.

If you are in a public place and someone takes your property, it is most likely considered grand theft. If there is violence involved then it can be upgraded to robbery.

Grand Theft Charge in California

A grand theft charge (in California) is a charge for the crime of stealing property that is valued at more than $950. The term “grand theft” is often used interchangeably with “petty theft” because they both have the same punishment. Grand Theft charges are considered much more serious than petty theft charges, which are typically punished as misdemeanors.

Grand Theft Punishment

Grand theft is a very serious crime and there are many ways that it can be punished. These punishments may include up to a year in county jail, fines, restitution, and possible recovery of any money or property taken by the thief.

Possible Defenses to a Grand Theft Charge in California

Possible defenses against a grand theft charge in California are as follows:

  1. The property was not taken by the defendant.
  2. The property was taken without the intent to deprive the owner of his or her property, and with the intent to return it to its owner within a reasonable time.
  3. The defendant believed that he or she had a right or claim to the property, and that belief was reasonable under all of the circumstances.
  4. The defendant is either under 18 years old, mentally incapable of forming criminal intent, or intoxicated at the time that he or she committed grand theft (PC 487(d))

In case of a grand theft charge, what defense do I have for the crime?

Facts of the case

The way that you always have to approach this question is you first have to look at the facts of the case and you first have to determine whether a prosecutor can even prove that a theft occurred. 

If the evidence is sufficient to prove that the theft occurred, the prosecutor then has to prove that the defendant was the one who committed it. If those two things go together, then we start breaking apart the specific facts to discern exactly which type of theft crime can prove occurred. 

For example, the most commonly known thing these days is that grand theft is distinguished from petty theft and the distinguishing line is the value of $950.

So, the prosecutor also has the burden of proving that the object stolen had a value of at least $950. That value can be determined by many things. Retail prices. Some judges are actually open to the value of the item, regardless of the sales price tag. So, what is the cost of manufacturing an item? of transporting that item to the stores. What is the store owner the victim of the theft?

What is their actual loss by the theft of that item? Sometimes it’s not always the price tag, but some judges do go strictly by the price tag. 

Difference between Robbery, Theft, and regular theft 

The difference between robbery, theft, and regular theft. A robbery involves theft, but a robbery is a theft plus the taking by force or fear by the use of violence or the use of a threat, something that prompts a victim to involuntarily part with their property. Taking from the person of another, if not by force or fear, is grand theft from a person. So, the distinguishing feature, as I mentioned, between all grand thefts and petty thefts is the value of the item. So, you can take an item from a person that’s in their possession but without using force or fear to take it. And if the value is less than $950, then that’s just petty theft.

Are You Facing Grand Theft Charges in California?

If you are facing Grand Theft Charges in California, call me immediately at (415) 837-3449 at any time. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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