A property crime conviction can set you back significantly. Avoid the worst penalties by hiring a Long Beach property crimes lawyer. Simmrin Law Group has an experienced legal team ready to help you fight your upcoming legal battle.
The Definition of Property Crimes
Property crimes are any action taken by an individual or group of individuals that involves stealing, vandalizing, or destroying another person’s property. Most property crimes do not include inflicting harm against another person. However, for cases where a person is harmed during the commission of the crime, additional charges will likely occur.
For a free legal consultation with a property crimes lawyer serving Long Beach, call (310) 896-2723
Are Property Crimes Felonies?
Property crimes can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. Which charge applies depends on the case’s circumstances and the prosecutor’s discretion. While less severe crimes are more likely to result in misdemeanor charges, there are no guarantees that they will not be prosecuted as felonies.
With crimes like theft, the value of the property stolen will heavily influence the prosecutor’s decision of whether to charge a crime as a felony or misdemeanor. Larger theft volumes typically warrant more severe charges, so stealing valuable items can result in felonies. You have some recourse if you have been charged with felony property crimes.
It is possible to have the charges downgraded to a misdemeanor, though doing so is difficult without assistance from an experienced Long Beach property crimes attorney. Contact a property crimes lawyer in Long Beach to get insight into what it takes to reduce felony property crimes charges to misdemeanors.
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Property-Related Criminal Offenses
Property crimes are a broad category that includes several offenses. Some examples are:
If you intentionally enter another person’s property without permission, you may be charged with trespassing. This could be land or a structure, such as a building. The circumstances will dictate whether trespassing is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony.
Sometimes an infraction is issued instead, resulting in a reasonable fine. Though, cases that are prosecuted as misdemeanors and felonies will have more substantial penalties, ranging between one and three years in jail or prison.
If you have been caught on someone else’s property unlawfully, there are defenses that you can use to minimize your guilt. This is especially true if there is no physical evidence of you being there. Get in touch with a Long Beach property crimes lawyer today to learn your options.
Criminal mischief is a specific category of property crimes that includes several sub-crimes. They are united in the sense that they each involve maliciously vandalizing, damaging, or destroying someone’s property. The most commonly prosecuted form of criminal mischief is graffiti vandalism.
Usually, the penalties for criminal mischief are minor, but mischief that causes significant damage can result in felony charges. If you are charged with a felony, fines could reach $10,000, and potential jail time can be up to three years. Evade the maximum penalties for felony mischief by retaining a knowledgeable lawyer to represent you in your case.
Setting fires intentionally is a crime called arson. If you are suspected of arson, there are two charges you may face in California. They include:
- Reckless burning – These charges arise when someone sets a fire for enjoyment purposes, but often in settings where the fire can spread.
- Malicious arson – If you set a fire to harm someone, damage property, or commit fraud, these charges are likely to be pressed.
A malicious arson charge should be taken incredibly seriously, especially if the fire harmed someone. The circumstances of the crime will dictate whether felony or misdemeanor charges are levied against you. If you are convicted of a felony, you could face as many as three years in jail. Arson that causes bodily injury can result in three times the prison time — up to nine years.
Penalties for Property Crimes in California
Property offenses can result in significant punishments and consequences. The range of consequences includes:
- Mandatory restitution
- Mandatory community service
- Probation time
- Court costs
The resulting conviction can also damage your ability to engage with society as a productive citizen. Some indirect consequences include:
- Derogatory marks on your criminal record
- Fewer chances of qualifying for certain occupations
- Reduced ability to rent in specific properties and areas
- Lowered probability of acquiring financial aid for education and other opportunities
- Altered child custody agreements
- Changes to legal immigration status
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Defending Yourself Against Property Crimes Effectively
We can only tell you the best defense for your case once we have heard the circumstances of your offense. This is because we need to know what your overall intent was and whether the actions you took were intentional or not. We also need to know if you were present at the scene of the crime or if you are only suspected of having been.
In order to prosecute you for property crimes, the prosecutor must be able to prove in court that you willingly chose to take advantage of someone else’s property. If you can prove otherwise, you can minimize charges or have them dismissed entirely. Some defenses we may use in your case include the following:
- You were given consent to be on the property or use the property.
- You did not show any intent to commit the offense.
- The person who committed the crime was not you.
Leveraging one of these defenses in court takes a calm head and litigation experience. If you have neither, your chances of success drop dramatically. To ensure that you have the resources you need to claim victory, rely on the skilled counsel of a Long Beach property crimes lawyer.
Get Support from a Qualified Property Crimes Attorney in Long Beach
Even if you think you have things handled well on your own, you never know what the prosecution will throw at you. The lawyer you choose to represent you in your property crimes case can make or break your defense. Do not hesitate to hire a reputable lawyer with your best interest in mind.
Simmrin Law Group is ready to hear from you. Using the contact form on this page, you can contact our esteemed legal team today.