In Los Angeles, grand theft is a general term for serious thefts of valuable property. However, grand theft has a very broad definition, and it can be charged even in circumstances that don’t seem that serious. This leads to people serving serious prison sentences for a single bad mistake. If you or someone in your family has been charged with grand theft, you need to understand how serious this charge it is—and how it will affect your life. You need to speak to a Los Angeles grand theft lawyer.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we can help. Our mission is simple: we help those who have been accused. We listen to you, we take time to understand what happened, and we take your side—always. Our legal team has the experience and knowledge to turn around even the most serious grand theft cases, and we have a track record of winning. Let us give you a free consultation to get you started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What is considered grand theft in Los Angeles?
Grand theft is defined by a state law known as California Penal Code Section 487. The simplest definition of grand theft is that you stole anything worth more than $950. In general, if the value exceeds this amount, it counts as grand theft regardless of the circumstances.
However, there are other ways that a theft can count as grand theft—even if the dollar amount was lower. These include:
You took the property directly off of the person who owned it, such as by grabbing it from them and running, or by mugging them
The property was of a certain type, including:
A motor vehicle
Various agricultural products or fish/shellfish, if they are valued at $250 or more
If the theft is more minor than this—that is, if it falls under the $950 limit and doesn’t meet any of the other requirements above—it will be charged as petty theft, a less serious crime.
It’s not uncommon for a grand theft charge to be reduced to petty theft if the circumstances warrant it and you have a skilled lawyer. This is one of the many ways a criminal defense lawyer can help in a grand theft case, and it can save you years of incarceration.
What are examples of grand theft?
Examples of grand theft could include:
A young man grabs a woman’s purse and runs.
A teenager on a bus sees the man next to him close his laptop and slide it into his backpack. When the man is distracted, he reaches into the man’s backpack—which the man is holding—and quietly takes the laptop.
A woman enters a department store and, after trying on an expensive dress, slips it into her backpack to shoplift it. The price take on the dress is $970.
A man breaks into a pickup truck. In the glovebox he finds a handgun, and steals it. This automatically counts as grand theft firearm, even if the gun is worth way less than $950.
What about “grand theft auto”?
Grand theft auto is a version of the grand theft offense that’s used any time a motor vehicle is stolen. Even though it is charged as grand theft, auto cases are very complicated and deserve their own explanation. If you are facing this kind of charge you should check out our grand theft auto guide.
When is grand theft a felony in Los Angeles?
Grand theft can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. For example:
The stolen property was a firearm, it is automatically a felony.
If a car was stolen, and the charge is grand theft auto, it is usually charged as a felony—but not always.
In most other grand theft cases, it is up to the prosecutor whether to charge you with felony grand theft or misdemeanor grand theft.
The circumstances the prosecutor will consider when making this decision include:
The details of your case and how serious it is, and
Your personal criminal history.
Additionally, you should be aware that you can be charged with multiple counts of grand theft if you stole more than once. This means you could serve an additional sentence for each charge. However, if the different thefts were part of one ongoing plan, it should only be a single charge. A good lawyer can often help turn a series of grand theft charges into a single charge. This can save years of your life.
What are the penalties for grand theft in Los Angeles?
The penalties include:
Misdemeanor grand theft penalties:
Up to 1 year in county jail
Felony grand theft penalties:
16 months, 2 years or 3 years ins state prison,
Felony probation which can include up to a year of jail, and
Convicted felon status.
Additionally, If the theft involved a firearm, the conviction is also a “strike” under the three strikes law.
What defenses work in a grand theft case?
There are several defenses that a skilled lawyer could use in a grand theft case. The best defense will depend on exactly what happened and what evidence there is against you. Defenses include:
You didn’t intend to steal anything. If you had no intent, it is not grand theft.
You were reclaiming property that is rightfully yours, or that you believed was rightfully yours.
You believed you had permission from the owner to take or use the property.
You were wrongfully accused—you didn’t do it. This kind of defense relies on a thorough investigation by your defense team so that we can produce evidence that you’re not at fault.
Police violated your rights, coerced your confession, or searched you illegally in order to find evidence. Any of these can allow you to get evidence suppressed or win your case.
Using any of these defenses requires understanding the law and our complex legal system. Don’t take chances with your future. You need to talk to a lawyer.
Talk to a Los Angeles Grand Theft Lawyer for Free
At the Simmrin Law Group, we help our clients walk away from a mistake with the best future possible. Often this means no jail time, a lesser charge, or being found Not Guilty altogether. Let us help you. We will give you a FREE consultation and help you start building your defense. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.