Los Angeles Theft Crimes Lawyer

Last Modified: February 26, 2024
Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer

In Los Angeles, facing a theft charge can be a daunting experience, with serious consequences if convicted. Theft crimes range from minor offenses to major felonies, depending on the circumstances. Understanding the nature of these charges and the legal process is crucial. At Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers, we provide the expertise needed to navigate these complex legal waters.

Theft crime charges come in many shapes and forms. Even low-level misdemeanors can lead to time in the county jail. If you have been accused of a theft offense, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can fight for you. Our criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in theft crimes. This includes accusations of identity theft.

Find out more about how our experienced criminal defense attorney can help you. Then, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Overview of Theft Crimes in Los Angeles

Overview of theft crimes in Los Angeles

Theft crimes in Los Angeles encompass a wide range of illegal activities. From shoplifting to grand theft, the severity and nature of these crimes vary greatly. Understanding the specific type of theft charge you're facing is crucial in forming an effective defense strategy. We at Perlman & Cohen are well-versed in all types of theft crimes and are ready to assist you.

Different Types of Theft Charges

It is important to note that there are multiple types of theft crime charges in California. The six general categories include:

  • Petty Theft - PC 484: This covers stealing someone else's personal property valued at $950 or less. This is a misdemeanor charge. It could lead to 6 months in county jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Grand Theft - PC 487: This is stealing anything valued at greater than $950. This is a wobbler, which means it can be a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, the penalty is up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000 or less. As a felony, the sentence is up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Receiving Stolen Property - PC 496: This entails purchasing or hiding items or money that you know were stolen. If the value of the items in question is $950 or less, it is prosecuted as misdemeanor theft. If it is more than $950, it is prosecuted as a felony.
  • Embezzlement - PC 503: Embezzlement is stealing something that the owner entrusted you with. The same criteria and penalties apply as the crimes above, depending on whether the items were worth more or less than $950.
  • Burglary - PC 459: Burglary covers breaking into a locked container or location with the intent of stealing. If the location is a commercial establishment, it is prosecuted as petty or grand theft, as above. If the location is a residence, then it is a felony. The penalty is up to 6 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Robbery - PC 211: In contrast, robbery is the use of force to steal from someone. This is a felony, and the punishment is up to 9 years in prison.

You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can defend you against these serious charges.

Consequences of Theft Convictions

We have already detailed many of the legal penalties above; however, what about the other consequences? In addition to having a previous criminal record, a theft conviction can dramatically affect your daily life. It can impact your employment opportunities, housing options, and overall reputation. The stigma of a theft conviction can be challenging to overcome, making it essential to mount a strong defense.

The Legal Process for Theft Charges

The legal process for theft charges

Navigating the legal process for theft charges in Los Angeles can be complex. Each step has significant implications for your case, from the moment of arrest to the final verdict. Understanding this process is crucial in preparing your defense and protecting your rights.

Arrest and Initial Arraignment

When you're arrested for theft in Los Angeles, the process begins with booking and an initial arraignment. At the arraignment, the charges against you are formally presented, and you can enter a plea. This stage is crucial as it sets the tone for your defense strategy.

You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest during the arraignment. Each plea has different implications for your case. A not-guilty plea leads to setting a trial date, while a guilty plea might move directly to sentencing. It's important to consult with your lawyer to determine the best course of action.

Pre-Trial Procedures and Hearings

After the arraignment, your case enters the pre-trial phase. This involves various hearings, motions, and potential plea bargain discussions. The pre-trial phase is critical for gathering evidence, negotiating with prosecutors, and preparing for trial.

During this phase, your lawyer will work to challenge the prosecution's evidence, file motions to suppress inadmissible evidence, and negotiate for reduced charges or penalties. These actions can significantly impact the outcome of your case. A skilled attorney can navigate these proceedings effectively to protect your interests.

Defense Strategies We May Use To Protect You

When defending against theft charges, a tailored strategy is crucial. There are a handful of defense strategies we might employ on your behalf. Some of the most common defense strategies that we use to defend against these allegations are:

  • Challenging the Evidence: We might argue that the evidence against you is insufficient, unreliable, or was obtained illegally. This can include questioning the credibility of witnesses or the legality of a search and seizure.
  • Mistake of Fact: In some cases, we can argue that you believed in good faith that you had the right to the property. This strategy is applicable when there's a genuine misunderstanding about the ownership or permission to use the property.
  • Lack of Intent: We may contend that you did not intend to steal. Proving that there was no intent to deprive the owner of his property could be a key defense in theft cases.
  • False Accusations: We'll investigate if the accusations are false or motivated by factors like revenge or a misunderstanding. Uncovering the truth in these situations is vital for your defense.
  • Entrapment: If law enforcement induced you to commit a theft that you would not have otherwise committed, we could argue entrapment. This defense is applicable in situations where law enforcement uses coercion or other overbearing tactics.

Each case is unique, and we will develop a defense strategy that best fits your situation. Reach out to us today to speak to our team.

How To Know if You Should Take a Plea Bargain

Deciding whether to take a plea bargain in a theft case is a significant decision. A plea bargain can offer a resolution without the uncertainty of a trial. However, it also involves admitting guilt to a lesser charge, which can have lasting consequences.

Before considering a plea bargain, evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case against you. If the evidence is strong, a plea bargain might be a favorable option. However, if you believe you have a strong defense, going to trial might be the better choice.

It's important to discuss the pros and cons of a plea bargain with your lawyer. They can provide insight into the likelihood of success at trial and the potential consequences of a plea. Their advice is crucial in making an informed decision.

Potential Penalties and Sentencing for Theft

Potential penalties and sentencing for theft

The penalties for theft in Los Angeles vary based on the severity of the crime. Petty theft often results in fines, probation, or short jail sentences. Grand theft, being more serious, can lead to longer prison sentences and larger fines. The exact penalties have been detailed above.

Expungement and Post-Conviction Relief

After a theft conviction, you may have options for expungement or post-conviction relief. Expungement involves the court dismissing your conviction, which can help in mitigating its long-term effects. However, not all convictions are eligible for expungement, and certain conditions must be met.

Post-conviction relief can include modifying the terms of probation. We could also try to get your charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. These options depend on the specifics of your case and your conduct since the conviction. Discussing these possibilities with your lawyer is important for understanding your options. If you would like to learn more about whether you could be eligible for expungement, reach out to us today to speak to our team.

The Benefits of Working With Our Los Angeles Theft Crimes Lawyer

We are among the most trusted law firms in the local area, including for theft defense. Working with Perlman & Cohen can benefit you in numerous ways, and some of the top examples include:

  • Expert Legal Knowledge: Our team has extensive experience in theft cases. We understand the laws and legal system in Los Angeles and can use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • Personalized Defense Strategies: We tailor our defense strategy to your specific case. This includes a thorough analysis of the evidence and crafting arguments that highlight your side of the story.
  • Protection of Your Rights: As the case moves forward, we ensure your rights are protected. This includes representing you in court, negotiating with prosecutors, and advocating for your best interests.
  • Strong Negotiation Skills: Our lawyers are skilled negotiators. We can work with prosecutors to reduce or dismiss charges and negotiate favorable plea bargains when appropriate.
  • Support and Guidance: Facing theft charges can be overwhelming. We provide not only legal representation but also support and guidance throughout this challenging time. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What distinguishes petty theft from grand theft in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, petty theft involves stealing property valued at $950 or less, while grand theft involves property worth more than $950. The distinction is based on the value of the stolen property.

How can a lawyer help if I'm falsely accused of theft?

A lawyer can challenge the evidence, investigate the case for inconsistencies, and work to prove your innocence. They play a crucial role in defending against false accusations.

What are the long-term effects of a theft conviction on my record?

A theft conviction can lead to difficulties in finding employment, housing, and educational opportunities. It can also affect personal relationships and carry a social stigma.

Call Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers for Your Los Angeles Theft Crimes Lawyer

Call Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers

If you're facing theft charges in Los Angeles, it's essential to have a skilled lawyer on your side. At Perlman & Cohen Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers, we understand the complexities of theft cases and are dedicated to providing the best possible defense. We work tirelessly to protect your rights and aim for the most favorable outcome.Contact us for a consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help. Our experienced team is ready to provide you with the legal support and representation you need. Call us today, and take the first step towards protecting your future.

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