An embezzlement charge can have very serious consequences for your career and your life. You could face years in jail, huge fines, and a mark on your criminal record. That doesn’t have to happen, though. With the help of an Alhambra embezzlement lawyer, you could get your penalties reduced or dropped altogether.
Read more about California’s approach to embezzlement and what an attorney can do for you. If you have any questions or are ready to talk to a legal expert, you can get a free initial consultation with someone from the Simmrin Law Group.
What Is California’s Embezzlement Law?
California files embezzlement under its Penal Code (PC) § 503, which states that “Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.” While this sentence seems simple (other than the legal vocabulary), there are a few factors at play that make embezzlement unique:
- “Fraudulent appropriation”: basically, stealing. “Appropriation” is the use of someone else’s property for your own benefit. “Fraudulent” is with corrupt or dishonest intent. If the appropriation is done non-fraudulently, that’s usually fine. In that case, you either have permission or believe that you have the right to use that property. Penal Code (PC) § 485 outlines larceny by appropriation.
- “Property”: Most people think of embezzlement as siphoning money from a business account, but property can actually apply to more than that. It could be a car that a valet takes for a spin or valuables that someone sells as their own.
- “Entrusted”: The main element of an embezzlement case that sets it apart from other theft cases is the fact that the property had been entrusted to the defendant. That means it is the property of the victim, but it was in the legal possession of the defendant.
The main factor that defines embezzlement is a relationship of trust between the victim and the defendant. That applies to agents, employees, servants, trustees, and other roles in which property might be entrusted to someone.
Embezzlement is technically theft and is often charged as such under California law. Depending on the value of the property embezzled, it can either be charged as petty theft (under $950) or grand theft (over $950). The penalties for embezzlement will depend on what it’s charged as, as well as any criminal history on your record and how well a lawyer can negotiate.
If you’re not sure whether your charges should count as embezzlement or what about your situation warrants such a charge, you can talk to one of our criminal defense lawyers for free. Someone from our firm can explain the charges to you, as well as how they could help you fight them.
For a free legal consultation with a embezzlement lawyer serving Alhambra, call (310) 928-9347
Is Embezzlement a Felony?
Embezzlement is sometimes a felony in California, but not always. It depends on the severity of the crime, for even grand theft embezzlement can still be a misdemeanor in certain cases.
If you are charged with petty theft embezzlement—where the value of the property was less than $950—it will almost never be a felony. Petty theft is considered a misdemeanor in California and will result in up to six months in county jail.
However, if you are charged with grand theft embezzlement—where the value of the property was more than $950—it becomes what is known as a “wobbler.” Wobblers are charges that could go either way. Depending on the situation, how the judge feels, and any past criminal history, grand theft embezzlement could be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If it’s charged as a misdemeanor, grand theft embezzlement could result in up to a year in county jail. If it’s charged as a felony, grand theft embezzlement could result in up to three years in jail.
Because the charge could go either way, it’s important to have an experienced, tenacious Alhambra embezzlement attorney working on your case. By negotiating with the prosecutor and filing solid evidence, a lawyer could make the difference and get your charges reduced or even dropped.
Alhambra Embezzlement Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges
To help you avoid harsh consequences, your criminal defense lawyer will try to pick apart your charge and prove that the accusations leveled against you don’t fit. While our attorneys tailor their services to each individual client, there are some common defenses that they may use.
Common defenses against embezzlement in California include:
- That you believed you had a right to use the property as you did
- That you had no intent to deprive the other party of their property
- That the other party’s accusations are false or their evidence is misleading
- That the prosecution’s case or evidence is unduly prejudicial or illegally obtained
While technically anyone can defend you in court, it’s best to hire an experienced embezzlement lawyer who has handled cases like yours before. A defense is only so strong as the attorney’s negotiation skills and the evidence they’ve collected.
Talk to an Alhambra Embezzlement Attorney for Free
An embezzlement charge can put your whole life off course. A conviction doesn’t only mean potential years in jail. It could also mean expensive fines and having a felony on your record for the rest of your life, making it very difficult to get a job or exercise your civil rights.
The Alhambra embezzlement lawyers at Simmrin Law Group want to help. You can call us or contact us online at any time to get a free consultation with an attorney.