There are many different white-collar crimes in the state of California. All of these charges generally lead to high fines and a lengthy period of incarceration. California Penal Code Section 503: Embezzlement is no exception to this rule.
You can boost your understanding of PC 503 charges with this article. Go over the specific definition of embezzlement with the Simmrin Law Group. You’ll be able to consider the penalties for a PC 503 conviction and potential legal defenses.
Embezzlement: The Legal Definition in California
Individuals can be charged with a PC 503 violation only in certain cases. In order for an act of embezzlement to occur, someone must:
- Be Entrusted to Care for the Property of Someone Else AND
- Use or Convert That Property in a Fraudulent Way
- In Order to Personally Benefit from the Property
- While Intending to Deprive the Property’s Owner of Their Property
While this definition may seem complicated, it boils down to receiving property from a trusting individual and misusing it for personal gain. Individuals should only be convicted of embezzlement if they take property or monies from someone who previously trusted them.
Embezzlement: The Connection to Petty Theft and Grand Theft
The court system in California treats embezzlement charges like either:
Acts of embezzlement that involved less than $950 are treated as petty theft. Embezzlement of more than $950 will be treated as grand theft. Note that embezzlement may also be treated as grand theft if an individual embezzles an automobile or a firearm, even if the firearm or vehicles is not worth $950.
Embezzlement: The Penalties for a Conviction
The results of an embezzlement conviction in California generally depend on the value of the property embezzled and the accused’s previous criminal history. Individuals convicted of petty theft embezzlement can face misdemeanor charges that lead to:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
Grand theft embezzlement charges can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, leading to different penalties. Misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement may result in:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
Finally, felony grand theft embezzlement can force an individual to face the following penalties:
- Fines of Up to $10,000
- Prison or Jail Time of Up to Three Years
Additionally, individuals can have an additional and consecutive sentence of up to four years added to their original sentence if they are convicted of embezzling particularly large sums of money.
Embezzlement: Similar Charges in California
Embezzlement is not the only theft crime that can lead to harsh penalties in the state of California. Individuals could also face charges for violations of:
- Penal Code Section 424: Misappropriation of Public Funds
- Penal Code Section 459: Burglary
- Penal Code Section 470: Forgery
- Penal Code Section 496(a): Receiving Stolen Property
- Penal Code Section 504: Embezzlement by a Public Officer
A white-collar crimes lawyer in Los Angeles can help you learn more about these charges and other charges tied to fraud and forgery.
Embezzlement: The Legal Options for a Defense
As you can see, a conviction for embezzlement can have serious consequences. You can get help addressing an embezzlement accusation by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right now. A legal professional can go over your case, assess your unique needs, and work to build a defense by showing that:
You Didn’t Intent to Commit a Criminal Act
Sometimes, accidental acts resemble embezzlement in California. However, you must intend to keep the rightful owner of a piece of property from benefiting from its use to be convicted of embezzlement. If you had no criminal intentions, you could avoid a PC 503 conviction.
You Thought You had the Right to Take the Property
Sometimes, the ownership of property may become confused. If you thought you had a right to take something and openly took an item, you could avoid PC 503 charges. However, attempting to conceal the fact that you took a piece of property can make it difficult to use this defense.
Get Legal Help Handling Embezzlement Charges
The court system in California can harshly penalize California Penal Code Section 503: Embezzlement violations. Get help constructing a defense to embezzlement charges by reaching out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. You can contact the Simmrin Law Group today to get a FREE initial case evaluation.
Call us at (310) 997-4688 or fill out our online contact form to start getting legal advice now.