Just because a white-collar crime might not seem very serious, a conviction can still change your life. You could even receive a felony, meaning years in jail and loss of certain rights. An Arcadia embezzlement lawyer could get your charges reduced or even dropped altogether.
Learn more about embezzlement in California and what penalties you might be facing. When you’re ready to talk to an attorney who can help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Simmrin Law Group. We offer free consultations to people accused in Arcadia.
California’s Law Against Embezzlement
While embezzlement is technically a type of theft, California has two special laws designed specifically for the crime. The first is Penal Code (PC) § 503, which covers general cases of embezzlement. According to this law, embezzlement is “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.”
The strict, legal definition might not be too helpful if you’re not a lawyer. To help you understand what counts as embezzlement, here is the broken-down version:
- Fraudulent appropriation is, basically, stealing. When you do something fraudulently, you’re doing it with deceitful or corrupt intent. Appropriation is the use of something for your own purposes. Fraudulent appropriation, then, is using something in a dishonest, self-serving way.
- Property can be many different things, but in embezzlement cases, it’s usually money. That can be cash out of a cash register, funds in a business account, or a check filled out to someone else.
- When something is entrusted to someone, they are responsible for its use, and the person who entrusted it is counting on them to keep or use it in an official, non-fraudulent way. In embezzlement cases, this is usually true for employees, agents, and other people who handle money or property for their job.
A famous example of this is a Ponzi scheme, in which someone uses one investor’s money to pay back another investor. Most embezzlement cases don’t take place on Wall Street, though. Instead, the crime often takes place at the level of small businesses or individual accountants.
California’s other law regarding embezzlement is PC 504, embezzlement by a public officer. This occurs when a government employee or other official misuses public funds or property. This is set apart from normal embezzlement because it is often regarded as a more serious crime.
For a free legal consultation with a embezzlement lawyer serving Arcadia, call (310) 896-2723
What Are the Legal Penalties for Embezzlement in Arcadia?
The legal penalties for embezzlement in California actually vary depending on the situation. That’s because the state often prosecutes the crime according to one of two different types of theft: petty or grand. Which of those any one charge falls on depends mainly on the price tag of the embezzlement.
Petty theft embezzlement applies when the value of the property embezzled is less than $950. The penalties for this can include up to six months in jail, fines, and a misdemeanor charge on your criminal record.
Grand theft embezzlement applies when the value is more than $950. This charge is actually what lawyers call a “wobbler,” which means it could either be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances and the defendant’s past criminal history.
If grand theft embezzlement is charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant could face up to a year in jail. If it’s charged as a felony, they could face up to three years in jail, along with the loss of civil liberties that comes along with a felony conviction. Both of these charges can also come with fines.
Those are the maximum sentences. An Arcadia embezzlement attorney can help you avoid the harshest penalties and possibly get your charge reduced. Judges are often willing to let defendants receive probation instead of going to jail, but that may take negotiation on your lawyer’s part.
Arcadia Embezzlement Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
How to Fight Embezzlement Charges
There are some common defenses to embezzlement that can help you fight your charges. You could argue that you had no criminal intent, that you thought the property was yours to use, or that you didn’t mean to deprive the other party of their money.
These are best employed by a lawyer who has experience with criminal defense law, though. Defendants who try to fight charges without the help of a criminal defense attorney often face extremely difficult challenges. That’s because it’s far from our first time defending someone from embezzlement charges, so we know what to say and do for your case.
Prosecutors and judges sometimes like to take your words and use them against you. Because of that, if you’ve been arrested and intend on hiring a lawyer, you should do so as soon as possible. It may sound cliché, but it’s true: everything you say will be held against you.
If you’re not sure how a lawyer can help, you can get a free initial consultation with an attorney from our firm. One of our professionals will be able to assess your situation and tell you what can be done, as well as how much it may cost.
Talk to an Embezzlement Attorney in Arcadia for Free
Embezzlement may be a white-collar crime, but that doesn’t mean the charge isn’t serious. It can follow you for life and make it extremely difficult to get a new job. One mistake shouldn’t totally change the course of your career.
An Arcadia embezzlement lawyer could be able to get you acquitted. Call us or contact us online for your FREE initial consultation with an attorney from Simmrin Law Group.