There are many different white-collar crimes in the state of California. 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.
The Legal Definition of Embezzlement in California
Individuals can be charged with a PC 503 violation only in certain cases. 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
- 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’s Connection to Petty Theft and Grand Theft
The court system in California treats embezzlement charges like either:
Embezzlement acts involving less than $950 are treated as petty theft. Embezzlement of more than $950 will be treated as grand theft. Embezzlement may also be treated as grand theft if an individual embezzles an automobile or a firearm, even if the firearm or vehicle is not worth $950.
Penalties for an Embezzlement 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 large sums of money. An experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group makes dealing with embezzlement charges less stressful than trying to represent yourself. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
Similar Charges to Embezzlement in California
Embezzlement is not the only theft crime that can lead to harsh penalties in 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.
Legal Options for an Embezzlement 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. A legal professional can go over your case, assess your unique needs, and work to build a defense by showing that:
You Didn’t Intend to Commit a Criminal Act
Sometimes, accidental acts resemble embezzlement in California. However, to be convicted of embezzlement, you must intend to keep the rightful owner of a piece of property from benefiting from its use. You could avoid a PC 503 conviction if you had no criminal intentions.
Talk to a criminal defense lawyer in California from the Simmrin Law Group today.
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, concealing that you took a piece of property can make it difficult to use this defense.
Never conceal the fact that you took property, especially if you were granted permission. Being upfront and honest when you are innocent will help your defense of the embezzlement charge immensely.
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 contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. You can contact the Simmrin Law Group today to get a free initial case evaluation.
Call our office, or fill out our online contact form to start getting legal advice now. Our criminal defense attorney near me in California understands the law and can explain the situation you are in so you know what is at stake. Fight to protect your rights by calling the Simmrin Law Group today.