If you are charged with property crimes in California, you could face serious legal consequences. These offenses can be classified as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies, and can result in large fines and even time in jail or prison. Working with an experienced legal team can assist you in dealing with property crime charges both in and out of court.
Our Alhambra property crimes lawyer at Simmrin law group understands the seriousness of being charged with a property crime. We are here to fight for your rights and provide the best legal representation possible.
California Property Crime Overview
Property crimes are defined as offenses involving the destruction of another person’s property. They range from minor infractions to major crimes with harsh penalties. The Penal Code of California defines various types of property crimes. Under a specific section of the Penal Code, each property crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
The most common property crimes in the state of California include arson, burglary, larceny, Trespass, and vandalism.
A person will be charged and convicted of Arson if the crime meets both elements under the law. Under California Penal Code Section 451, prosecutors must prove the elements of the statute to properly charge someone with arson:
- The wrongdoer burned or set fire to property, including forest land or a structure, AND
- They acted maliciously and willfully.
Someone can be charged with arson if they burn their own property, if and only if, they did so with an intention to defraud OR injured another person or a person’s property.
Arson can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the intentions of the wrongdoer. If the person acted in a malicious manner, this is malicious arson and will be charged as a felony. If the wrongdoer did not have the intent but acted recklessly, this is reckless arson and will be charged as a misdemeanor.
Any person will be charged with Burglary under California Penal Code Section 459 if they enter any property defined by the law “with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony.” The definition of burglary is broad. The burden will be on the prosecution to prove that the defendant in a case committed burglary.
Shoplifting is defined as a subcategory of burglary because it is defined as entering a retail establishment with the intent to take property without paying, whether that is during or after business hours.
Simply stated, burglary is when a person enters a structure with the intent to commit a crime therein.
Larceny, or by its commonly known name, theft, is when a person “feloniously” takes or defrauds a person’s property through false or fraudulent representation. Plainly put, larceny (theft) is unlawfully taking what is not yours. Theft is divided into two categories or degrees:
- Grand Theft
- Petty Theft
The main difference between the two degrees of larceny depends on the price or amount the item is worth, which is typically determined by the fair market value test. If the property acquired exceeds $950, then it will be grand theft. There are exceptions to the general rule, including:
- Stolen farm crops (will be deemed grand theft if over $250)
- Aquacultural products—fish and shellfish (grand theft when over $250)
- When property is directly taken from another individual person (example: taking a purse off someone’s shoulder)
- If the property is an automobile
- If the property is a firearm
The California penal code lays out other exceptions to distinguishing between grand theft and petty theft, but they are less common occurrences and can be found in Chapter 5 of the Penal Code under Larceny.
Trespass under Section 602 of the California Penal Code addresses over thirty different actions that constitute trespass as a property crime. There is an entire section of the California Penal Code on specifically trespassing on property that belongs to the University of California.
Defining trespass can be challenging because the definition is broad. Therefore, the law under Section 601 tries to lend a hand by laying out three elements that the prosecution must prove for any trespass charge to turn into a conviction:
- Entering a person’s property willfully,
- With the intention to interfere with a person’s property rights, AND
- There was actual inference with property.
Interference under the law means encroaching on another person’s use of their property, damaging property after entering the property, or taking property after unlawfully entering the premise.
Those charged with vandalism will be prosecuted under Section 594 of the California Penal Code. Under the law, the prosecution has the burden of proof to prove the following elements for a conviction of Vandalism:
- The defendant maliciously defaced, destroyed, or damaged property through inscription or graffiti, AND
- The property was not owed by the defendant or was jointly owned (cannot vandalize property that was solely owned by the defendant).
If the destruction or defacement was under $400 it will be deemed a misdemeanor and if over $400, the defendant can be charged with a felony. Exceeding $400 in damages does not always mean the wrongdoer will be charged with a felony.
For a free legal consultation with a property crimes lawyer serving Alhambra, call (310) 896-2723
What Does a Property Crimes Attorney in Alhambra Do?
Property crime charges, which can range from a misdemeanor to felony offenses in severity, can result in jail or prison time, as well as stiff penalties and other strict punishments. The effects on people’s private and work reputations, as well as the fact that some property crimes can result in a life-long criminal record, can be just as devastating as actual punishments and fines.
A property crime defense attorney can help reduce or vacate charges that were imposed on a person through a series of possible defenses. This can help reduce the impact of a property crime on someone’s life and future. Mistakes and misrepresentations can happen, which is why this is a common deployable defense against the charge of a property crime.
Alhambra Property Crimes Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Hiring a Property Crimes Lawyer in Alhambra
An Alhambra property crimes attorney at Simmrin Law Group has exceptional skills and experience that they can use to help you fight your charges. We can use our courtroom experience to negotiate with prosecutors and help you secure your future. Contact us today to discuss your case as soon as possible. We offer a no-hassle, free consultation to all future clients.