Los Angeles Theft Crimes Lawyer

Last Modified: May 23, 2024
Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer

In Los Angeles, theft cases can range from simple petty thefts to complex grand theft auto charges. The legal team at Perlman & Cohen Criminal Lawyers understands the serious impact these allegations can have on your life. Our Los Angeles theft lawyers are committed to providing a strong defense for our clients, utilizing our extensive knowledge of California's theft laws. Whether you're facing your first theft charge or dealing with a more complicated legal situation due to a prior criminal record, we're here to help.

Hiring the right criminal defense attorney is critical to navigating the complexities of theft crimes. At Perlman & Cohen Criminal Lawyers, we pride ourselves on our ability to tailor our defense strategies to the unique circumstances of each case. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to achieve favorable outcomes, including theft charge reductions, dismissals, and not-guilty verdicts. Everyone deserves a second chance, and our goal is to minimize the legal consequences of theft offenses in your life.

Expert Defense From Our Los Angeles Theft Lawyer: LA Theft Charges

Expert defense from our Los Angeles theft lawyer LA theft charges

Facing theft charges in Los Angeles can be a stressful experience. A conviction greatly influences your life, including employment, housing, and overall reputation. Our Los Angeles theft lawyers specialize in defending against all types of theft crimes, from petty theft to grand theft auto. We understand the local court system and how to navigate it to protect your rights effectively.

Our legal team conducts thorough investigations to challenge the evidence against you. We explore every angle of your case to build a strong defense, often finding critical weaknesses in the prosecution's arguments. Our experience in handling theft crime charges in Los Angeles means we know what it takes to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. Whether negotiating plea deals or arguing your case in court, we focus on securing a favorable resolution for you.

Understanding Theft Laws in California

Theft laws in California are detailed and can be complex to understand without legal expertise. They define theft as the unlawful taking of someone else's property. It would help if you had the goal of permanently depriving them of it. This can include actions ranging from shoplifting (petty theft) to taking high-value items or large amounts of money (grand theft). The difference between petty theft and grand theft is often based on the value of the stolen property.

Under California Penal Code 484, petty theft involves stolen property valued under $950, while grand theft pertains to property valued above this threshold. The penalties for theft in California vary significantly based on the circumstances of the theft, the stolen property's financial worth, and any prior record. The maximum penalty is a year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

In contrast, grand theft can result in more severe penalties, including longer terms in county jail or state prison. Grand theft means the stolen property was worth over $950. This is detailed under PC 487 and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If charged as a felony, a conviction could lead to up to three years in prison.

What to Expect After an Arrest for Theft

What to expect after an arrest for theft

After an arrest for theft in Los Angeles, the first step is usually booking and processing at a local police station. Depending on the severity of the theft offense and your criminal history, you may be allowed to post bail. It's essential to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible to begin working on your defense and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Your lawyer will detail the charges against you, examine the evidence, and discuss potential defense strategies. This early intervention can be crucial in theft cases, as it allows your lawyer to negotiate with prosecutors possibly to reduce or dismiss the charges before formal charges are filed. Our goal is to minimize the impact of the arrest on your life and to work towards a resolution that avoids the most serious consequences.

Steps in the Criminal Justice Process

  1. Arrest and Booking. After being arrested for a theft crime, the police will take you to the station for booking. This includes taking your fingerprints and photographs.
  2. Arraignment is your first court appearance. This is where the charges against you are read. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you decide the best plea based on your case.
  3. Bail Hearing. If applicable, a judge will decide whether you can be released from jail on bail and the amount. Having a lawyer for this step can help you fight for lower bail.
  4. Pretrial Proceedings. During this stage, your defense attorney and the prosecution may discuss plea bargains, and motions can be filed to exclude evidence or dismiss charges.
  5. Trial. If your case goes to trial, both sides will present evidence and arguments. A jury or judge will then determine your guilt or innocence.
  6. Sentencing. If found guilty, sentencing will follow. The severity of the sentence can depend on the theft offense, your criminal record, and other factors.
  7. Appeal. You can appeal a conviction if you believe there was a legal error in the trial process. Your lawyer can help you understand if this is a viable option.

Exploring Legal Defenses to Theft Charges

Exploring legal defenses to theft charges
  • Mistake of fact. This defense could be used if you believed the property was rightfully yours or had permission to take it. It challenges the prosecution's claim that you intended to steal.
  • Lack of intent. A strong defense can demonstrate that you did not intend to deprive the owner of their property permanently. Accidental or temporary taking does not constitute theft.
  • Wrongful accusation or identity. If you've been mistakenly identified as the perpetrator or falsely accused, your lawyer can present evidence to refute the charges.
  • Insufficient evidence. A theft charge requires substantial evidence. If the prosecution's evidence is weak, your attorney may ask for the case to be dismissed.
  • Consent. If you prove the owner gave you consent to use or take the property, it negates the unlawful element of theft.

Consequences of a Theft Conviction

A theft conviction in California can have far-reaching implications. Beyond the immediate penalties of fines, restitution, and possible incarceration, it can tarnish your reputation and affect your future. Employers, landlords, and educational institutions often conduct background checks, and a theft conviction can make securing jobs, housing, or education opportunities difficult.

Impact on Employment, Housing, and Future Opportunities

A theft conviction on your record can raise red flags for potential employers and landlords. Many see it as a sign of dishonesty, making them hesitant to trust you. This can limit your job prospects, especially in roles involving handling money or sensitive information. Finding housing can also become challenging, as landlords may not want to rent to an individual with a criminal record, fearing a risk to their property.

The long-term consequences extend beyond jobs and housing. A theft conviction can affect your eligibility for certain professional licenses and financial aid for education. It can also make it harder to travel to certain countries, as some have strict entry requirements regarding criminal records.

Potential for Fines, Restitution, and Incarceration

The penalties for a conviction can vary but often include fines, restitution to the victim, and incarceration. Petty theft, for example, can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in county jail. As detailed above, grand theft charges can carry more severe penalties, including longer jail or prison sentences. It depends on the financial worth of the stolen property and the defendant's prior criminal record.

Restitution is compensation for the victim's loss and is a common requirement. This ensures the victim receives the value of what was stolen, making it a direct financial consequence of the theft. Incarceration, whether in county jail or state prison, depends on the severity of the theft, any aggravating factors, and the defendant's criminal history.

Theft Charge Reduction and Dismissal

Our legal team's key focus is reducing or dismissing theft charges. Through careful analysis of your case, negotiation with prosecutors, and strategic legal motions, we work to minimize the impact of theft charges on your life. A strong defense could lead to reduced charges, such as lowering a grand theft charge to petty theft, or even complete dismissal if the evidence is insufficient or rights were violated during the arrest process.

Negotiating Plea Agreements

Plea negotiations are important in this process, offering a way to resolve a case without a trial. By negotiating a plea agreement, you may be able to plead guilty to a lower charge in exchange for a lighter sentence. This can be especially beneficial if the evidence against you is strong, offering a path to avoid the stress of a trial.

The decision to enter into a plea agreement should not be taken lightly. It requires a detailed understanding of the possible consequences and the strength of your defense. Our lawyers are strong negotiators who work to secure the best possible outcome for our clients, considering all factors of your case.

Eligibility for Diversion Programs

Diversion programs offer an alternative to traditional prosecution for certain offenders, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. If eligible, you may be able to participate in community service, theft prevention classes, or other programs instead of facing criminal penalties. Completing a diversion program often results in the dismissal of the theft charges, providing a clean slate.

These programs are not available to everyone and typically require the absence of a serious prior criminal record. Your lawyer can help determine if you're eligible and advocate on your behalf to gain entry into a diversion program.

Why You Need a Los Angeles Theft Lawyer

  • Expert legal advice. Understanding the intricacies of theft laws in California is crucial for a strong defense. Our lawyers provide expert legal advice tailored to your specific case.
  • Defense strategy. Every theft case is unique. We develop personalized defense strategies to address the specifics of your situation and aim for the best possible outcome.
  • Negotiation skills. Our experienced lawyers are tactful negotiators who can negotiate with prosecutors to reduce or dismiss charges, often securing favorable plea agreements.
  • Trial experience. If your case goes to trial, you need a lawyer with courtroom experience. Our team is prepared to fight for your rights before a judge or jury.
  • Support and guidance. Facing theft charges can be overwhelming. We offer not only legal representation but also support and guidance. We are here for you during the legal process, helping you navigate the complexities and make informed decisions.

Schedule a Consultation with a Los Angeles Theft Lawyer From Perlman & Cohen Criminal Lawyers

Schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles theft lawyer from Perlman & Cohen criminal lawyers

If you're facing theft charges in Los Angeles, the steps you take next can influence the direction of the case. At Perlman & Cohen Criminal Lawyers, we understand the weight of this moment and are here to offer the legal support and expertise you need. Our team of Los Angeles theft crimes lawyers is dedicated to defending your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today for a case consultation.

Schedule Your Free
Consultation Now

"*" indicates required fields

Required Field*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Why choose
Perlman & cohen
los angeles criminal
Ranked in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Over 3o+ Years of Combined Criminal Defense Experience 
Proven Results In & Out of Court
Affordable Fees and Payment Plans
We Are Available 24/7 for All Clients
Innovative Approach
contact us

If you or a loved one needs the assistance of our criminal law attorneys, please feel free to contact us in the way that is most convenient to you, whether that is calling us at (310) 557-1700 or completing the contact form below. All fields are required.

Required Fields *
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram