A theft crime is the act of knowingly taking or stealing another person's property without permission. Theft involves unlawfully entering a structure with the intent to deprive an individual of such property either permanently or temporarily. There are many degrees and types of theft crimes in California, each carrying its own specific charges, penalties, and consequences. Despite differences, all theft charges may have devastating effects on your freedom, rights, and lifestyle.
Any individual facing theft charges in San Luis Obispo may want to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. The San Luis Obispo theft crime attorneys at the Aron Law Firm are here to help you construct a case that gives you leverage in the courtroom. Our firm aims to take a personal, compassionate approach to your theft case. To help you get better acquainted with the various aspects of theft crimes, a general rundown of information is presented below.
What Are Common Theft Crimes in San Luis Obispo?
Theft is a broad term for a range of criminal activities. An experienced San Luis Obispo theft attorney may explain the differences of each, in addition to the potential penalties involved. In short, theft entails taking the property of another, whether tangible, like a vehicle, or intangible, like someone's bank information. Common theft crimes in San Luis Obispo include:
- Petty theft
- Grand theft
- First-degree burglary
- Second-degree burglary
- Identity theft
To garner a conviction for any one of these charges, the prosecuting attorney must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had a specific intent to seize the property and not return it to the owner, did not have the owner's authorization, and moved the property out of the owner's possession. The prosecution must also prove the property's value and ownership to determine the type and severity of the offense.
Criminal Penalties for a Theft Conviction in San Luis Obispo
The theft charges you may face are determined by the value of the property in question and, in some instances, the type of property. In general, the State of California considers theft a serious crime.
When it comes to theft, there is no universal sentencing guideline. While the vast majority of criminal sentences are implemented uniformly—meaning those facing similar charges may face similar punishments—California has its own system for penalizing theft crimes. The judge on your case has broad discretion, within legal limits, when deciding to what extent your individual circumstances (criminal history, the facts of your case, and the value of property stolen) affect your possible sentence. Whether charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you may face all or some of the following penalties:
- Jail time
- Court-ordered theft counseling
- Unsupervised or supervised probation
- Community service
- A criminal record
Defense Strategies Utilized in San Luis Obispo Theft Cases
If you've been charged with a theft crime in San Luis Obispo, you'll have the opportunity to defend yourself. A reliable theft crime lawyer may present a valid defense strategy on your behalf. In defending theft charges, your lawyer may introduce convincing evidence to disprove the prosecution's argument. Some defense strategies regularly used in theft cases include:
- Ownership or right to the property: This defense argues that the defendant believed they were entitled to the property.
- Return of property: This defense argues that the defendant borrowed the property and was going to return it to the owner after temporary use.
- Entrapment: This defense argues the defendant was coerced by violence or threats to commit theft.
A theft conviction may reflect adversely on your character, and the criminal record that follows may impact your personal and professional life. Protecting yourself, what you love, and your future starts with knowing your rights and working with a knowledgeable theft attorney today.
Pursue Reduction or Dismissal of Your Theft Charges in San Luis Obispo
At the Aron Law Firm, we strive to help those facing criminal charges make the best of their situation. Through all stages of the legal process, from investigations and preliminary hearings to trial and appeals, our San Luis Obispo theft crime lawyers work diligently to protect each of our clients.
To defend your rights during prosecution at the local, state, or federal level, it's important that you employ an attorney who not only considers your current circumstances but understands the powerful hold that a criminal conviction may have over your future. The Aron Law Firm has extensive experience defending clients and unique insight into the complexities of theft crimes. Call our legal team today at (805) 618-1768 or complete an online contact form to request a confidential case evaluation.