Larceny is a crime similar to theft—taking property belonging to someone else without the use of force. Formerly, an individual could be charged with both theft and larceny, but modern California laws consolidate the two crimes. California Penal Code Section 490a declares that any mention of larceny, stealing, or embezzlement in state statutes would be thought to encompass the term “theft.” In the State of California, larceny is a crime against property.
If you face larceny allegations in Santa Barbara, contact a larceny lawyer right away to learn your legal options. The larceny defense attorneys of The Aron Law Firm take a client-centered approach to understand each client's unique circumstances and make the process as painless as possible to secure the best possible results for your situation.
Larceny Defined Under California Law
Larceny, or theft, is defined under California Penal Code Section 484 and may encompass:
- Personal property
- Real property
- The value of services or labor
Larceny does not have to apply to one single event. For example, an individual may be charged with larceny for stealing money, labor, or property from their employer over a course of 12 months. Theft by larceny is markedly different from theft by false pretenses or embezzlement because the property in question is taken without the victim's consent. In addition to taking the property, the offender also carries it off the property.
Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft in Santa Barbara
Larceny may be categorized as either petty theft or grand theft, depending on the stolen property's value. Petty theft is for property valued at or below $950, and grand theft is for property exceeding $950 in value.
However, there are exceptions for certain forms of stolen property wherein the charge is automatically grand theft. Stealing property directly from another person who is carrying it in their clothing or a container is considered grand theft.
Additionally, California courts view the theft of the following items as grand theft, even if they are valued below $950:
- Livestock, like sheep and horses
- Real estate that has been transformed into your property, like oil or water from another's property
- Certain kinds of aquaculture products and foods, like domestic fruits, vegetables, fish, and farm crops
What Are Potential Consequences for Theft and Larceny in Santa Barbara?
Criminal larceny in Santa Barbara is penalized the same as theft, which is considered a wobbler in California. The prosecution may determine whether to pursue the charge as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.
A misdemeanor theft conviction may include fines up to $1,000, a jail sentence up to one year, and probation. If you are convicted of felony grand theft, you may face up to one year in jail with felony probation upon release or up to three years in jail supplemented with fines up to $10,000.
What Defense Strategies May Be Used Against Theft and Larceny Charges?
A few strategies the experienced larceny defense lawyers at the Aron Law Firm may use in your defense include:
- Absence of intent: If the accused was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the property was stolen, their attorney might be able to demonstrate that intent was absent.
- Owner's permission: If the defendant proves that the property's legitimate owner offered the property to the defendant, larceny charges may be dismissed.
- Claim of ownership: If the accused demonstrates that they had a legitimate claim to the property, larceny charges may be rejected.
- Error of fact or law: Unlike most states, California may allow unfamiliarity with state laws as a possible defense in some cases.
These are just a few of the defense strategies that may be used in your defense against larceny charges in Santa Barbara. The most important thing is to have a knowledgeable and experienced Santa Barbara larceny lawyer fighting in your best interest to form a defense for the most optimal outcome.
Retain an Experienced Santa Barbara Theft and Larceny Lawyer
Larceny charges are severe matters in California. That's why it is essential to secure a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you develop a robust defense and fight to protect your legal rights.
Turn to the Aron Law Firm to defend your rights and protect your future. Our firm, led by a former California Deputy District Attorney, William Aron, boasts decades of experience with the Santa Barbara criminal judicial system. Our seasoned legal team is here to consult you on the next best steps to get through this challenging time. Call our office at (805) 618-1768 or contact us online to schedule a confidential case evaluation.