California law enforcement uses Penal Code 532 to prosecute the crime of theft by false pretenses. As one of the many theft crimes in California, individuals face misdemeanor or felony charges if they are accused of a PC 532 violation.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you defend yourself against a false pretenses charge. We understand how the court handles PC 532 charges and can help you build your defense.
Theft by False Pretenses
Individuals commit theft by false pretenses by convincing someone to give them something of value by lying.
The accused must knowingly and purposefully engage in deceit to be convicted under a PC 532 charge. Intent matters when it comes to PC 532 charges, too. Individuals should only face a conviction if they plan to take property or valuables from someone else through deceit.
Defining False Pretenses in California
There is more than one way to establish false pretenses in the eyes of Californian law. At their core, these pretenses must:
- Be intentionally incorrect or deceitful
- Reference an event or fact relating to either the past or present
According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, a person cannot be convicted of theft by false pretenses if their statement references a future event.
False pretense charges can apply to more than statements. You may be charged with establishing false pretenses if you have documentation, phone records, video recordings, or other materials establishing a false representation of past or present events. Should you be accused of using those materials to malevolent means, you may face criminal charges.
Proof of Deceit
The prosecution must provide proof that an act of deceit occurred to secure a PC 532 conviction. It is not enough to simply claim that someone else lied or told a mistruth. For example, the prosecution can provide:
- Notes signed by the accused that concern the false pretense
- Testimony regarding the false pretense provided by at least two people
- Testimony from one witness that is backed by corroborating evidence
- Writing or tokens that are associated with the mistruth
Simmrin Law Group can help you review the evidence against you and determine the best way to fight back.
Conviction on a Charge of Theft by False Pretenses
The court system treats PC 532 violations as theft crimes. In fact, the penalties for a PC 532 conviction match those levied for petty theft and grand theft. Generally, individuals face lesser penalties if they are accused of acts of theft involving less than $950. In this situation, they could face:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
Larger acts of theft could lead to harsher charges in California. Individuals accused of taking more than $950 through theft by false pretenses could face up to three years of time in prison. Additionally, the court could issue higher fines in this situation.
A theft crimes lawyer in Los Angeles can help you handle theft by false pretenses charges. The Simmrin Law Group also has experience handling other theft crimes in Los Angeles, including:
- Petty theft
- Grand theft
Compounding Theft by False Pretenses Charges
False pretense charges don’t exist in a vacuum. If you’re accused of theft by false pretenses, there’s a chance that you’ll also face accusations of:
- Check fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Unemployment fraud
The nature of your additional charges may vary depending on the evidence the prosecution believes they have. For example, the alleged possession of modified court documents can see you brought up on charges of forgery in addition to theft.
There are some instances wherein accusations involving these crimes and theft by false pretenses may even turn your charge into a wobbler. A “wobbler” describes a charge that qualifies either as a misdemeanor or a felony. You can discuss the severity of your compounded charges with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Consequences for Fraud and Theft by False Pretenses
Combined fraud and theft by false pretenses charges carry more severe consequences than theft by false pretenses alone.
Cases involving check fraud, for example, can see you spend up to three years in prison on forgery charges. Similarly, using false pretense to commit fraud and rob a senior citizen can see your expected fines increase to up to $10,000.
Fortunately, an attorney can challenge the distinct codes under which you are being charged. In addressing these charges on an individual basis, our team can fight to reduce the consequences that you might face for an alleged crime.
Legal Defenses Against a Theft by False Pretenses Charge
A criminal defense lawyer can help you fight back against PC 532 charges. Our team at the Simmrin Law Group can put our legal experience and knowledge to work for you. Allow us to dig into the facts surrounding your case. We can take the necessary steps to show that:
You didn’t Intend to Deceive Anyone
Theft by false pretenses charges focus on intent. You must plan to take valuables from someone to face a PC 532 conviction.
You Shared Information You Believed Was True
Individuals must act to deceive others to face a PC 532 conviction. If you shared false information that you believed to be truthful, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 532. Review possible defenses to a theft by false pretenses charge by reaching out to us today.
Contact Us to Fight a Theft by False Pretenses Charge
California keeps its definition of false pretenses loose. While the flexibility of the definition is understandable, misinterpretations of the law can see you falsely charged. If you don’t choose the right attorney to contest those charges, you may face life-changing consequences.
Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group for help right now in handling a theft by false pretenses charge in California. We offer free case consultations to discuss the charges brought against you.