Property crimes can take many different forms. Theft is one of the most common, and it can range from shoplifting or retail theft of low-value items to large-scale theft. However, not all property crimes involve stealing, trespassing, vandalism, and arson are also frequently classified as property crimes.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a property crime or are a suspect of an ongoing investigation, contact the property crimes lawyer in Glendale. A property crimes attorney in Glendale will use the best defense to fight your case to secure a better future for our clients.
Definition of a Property Crime
Many common crimes involving the theft or destruction of someone else’s property are classified as property crimes. They can range from minor offenses like shoplifting or vandalism to major felonies like armed robbery and arson. Some of these crimes do not require the perpetrator to flee with stolen goods or even harm a victim.
Others necessitate the actual seizure of money or property. Some require the presence of a victim at the time of the crime. Most property crimes are graded on a scale based on factors such as the amount stolen, the use of force or arms in theft cases, and actual or potential bodily injury in property destruction crimes.
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Robbery differs from burglary or theft in that it involves face-to-face confrontation, the threat or use of force, and the intent to coerce and prevent resistance. Robbery, either in the first or second degree, is a serious and violent felony offense punishable by a term of imprisonment in state prison under California Penal Code Section 211.
Robbery is classified as a first- or second-degree crime in California. Second-degree robbery includes all other types of robbery, according to Penal Code Section 212.5(b).
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In California, there are two types of burglary: first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary. A burglary committed in someone’s home is classified as first-degree burglary, which is always a felony. All other burglaries are classified as “second-degree” or “commercial burglary.”
Second-degree burglary is defined in California Penal Code Section 459 as entering a building, vehicle, vessel, or cargo container with the intent of stealing something or committing a felony. The state does not need to prove that a person actually stole or committed a felony under the law. It only needs to be proven that one intended to commit a crime therein.
As stated, first-degree burglary will always be charged as a felony, and second-degree burglary is a “wobbler” crime as California law states, and will sometimes be charged as a felony but can also be a lesser charge of misdemeanor.
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Theft is referred to as larceny in California. The prosecutor must establish the defendant’s intent to steal and attempt to withhold possessions and assets from the property owner in order to prove theft.
There are two types of theft in California: petty theft and grand theft. The severity of petty theft crime is determined by the value of the property. If the property is less than $950.00, the charge will be a petty theft charge. A person who commits petty theft can be sentenced to six months in prison and fined $1,000.00.
If the petty theft crime is less than $50.00, the prosecutor may dismiss the case. If the defendant steals more than $250.00, the charge will be a misdemeanor or infraction.
Grand theft is a far more serious crime that can include burglary, trespassing, and pickpocketing personal property such as clothing, jewelry, money, credit cards, and identification cards. Grand theft is left of an item over $950.00. Some items that are stolen will be grand theft regardless of their worth. California Penal Code Section 487 lists what types of items under $950.00 will be charged with grand theft.
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Arson is defined in California Penal Code Section 451 as willfully and maliciously starting a fire, causing, or assisting someone in burning a structure, forest land, or property. It is commonly referred to as “malicious arson.”
Malicious arson is a felony that can result in up to nine years in prison. Penal Code 452 refers to recklessly starting a fire that injures someone or damages property. It’s commonly referred to as “reckless burning.”
Arson is a “wobbler” crime in California that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A prosecutor must prove that the defendant set fire to, burned, or caused the burning of a structure, forest land, or property in order to obtain an arson conviction. Furthermore, their actions were premeditated and malicious.
The penalties for arson will vary widely because the details of the crime, such as the type of property burned and whether anyone was injured, are important factors in the penalties and fines that will be imposed if found guilty.
Vandalism is defined by California law as any malicious damage, destruction, or defacing of another person’s property. Vandalism can even be charged as a felony and result in a prison sentence in some cases. Though vandalism may appear to be a ‘victimless’ crime, the severity of punishment is determined by the monetary value of the property damaged. In order to be found guilty, a California prosecutor must show that the charged party met both elements of vandalism:
- Maliciously defaced property with graffiti or other inscriptions, or otherwise damaged or destroyed property; AND,
- The property that was defaced, damaged, or destroyed did not belong solely to the charged party.
It is important to remember that one can vandalize property that they share with someone else.
Hiring a Glendale Property Crimes Lawyer
Contact the Glendale property crimes attorney at Simmrin Law Group for a free consultation to review your case. We can be contacted by filling out an online form or by calling our offices.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form