Free Consultation for Grand Theft in San Jose, Redwood City or Palo Alto
Grand Theft Laws in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties
There are a number of theft crimes set out in the California Penal Code. The type of theft charge you may face will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the property you allegedly stole and the value of the property. One particularly serious charge set out in Penal Code section 487 is referred to as “grand theft.”
If you have been charged with grand theft, you should not wait to call a defense attorney, because these are serious charges that if not properly defended can result in penalties including jail time. The Law Offices of James Dunn offers a free initial consultation to discuss your options and will help you from the moment of your arrest through to the resolution of your case.
When Can I be Charged with Grand Theft in San Mateo or San Jose?
Grand theft is the more serious version of the charge of petty theft, which is established in California Penal Code section 484. The elements a prosecutor must prove to convict of grand theft are
(1) that you unlawfully took someone’s money or property and
(2) that the value of the property taken was more than $950.
You can also be charged with grand theft if you stole something (of any value) directly from another individual’s person, such as pick-pocketing. There are furthermore specific charges for certain types of stolen property, including grand theft auto and grand theft firearm.
There are many different ways to steal money or property and all of the methods of theft under the law can result in grand theft if the value exceeds $950. This includes theft by the following methods:
- False pretenses.
Grand Theft with Priors on Your Record
It is important to note that if you already have convictions for serious crimes on your record, you can face grand theft charges for certain types of property even if it was valued at less than $950. For example, if you have a prior felony conviction and you took a gun worth $500 from someone, you will likely be charged with grand theft.
As with any type of criminal charge in California, there are ways to challenge grand theft charges and limit the consequences in your case and an experienced criminal defense attorney can assist throughout the legal process.
What are the Possible Penalties for a Grand Theft Conviction in California?
One of the first questions that you may have is: what is the possible sentence you may receive if you are convicted of grand theft whether in a Santa Clara or San Mateo county courtroom? Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question as the potential penalties will depend on the specific circumstances of the allegations against you.
In many cases, grand theft is an offense that is known as a “wobbler” in California. Wobblers are offenses that may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the situation and, often, the prosecutor’s discretion. Wobblers present an opportunity for your defense attorney to make an argument to reduce the charges and attorney James Dunn and the legal team have a great track record in negotiating charge reductions. It is important to note that grand theft of a firearm will always be charged as a felony.
The following are some of the maximum penalties you may face for different types of grand theft charges:
- Grand theft misdemeanor – up to one year in jail;
- Grand theft felony – up to three years in prison;
- Grand theft of over $65,000 – enhanced sentence of one additional year;
- Grand theft of over $200,000 – enhanced sentence of two additional years;
- Grand theft of over $1,300,000 – enhanced sentence of three additional years;
- Grand theft or over $3,200,000 – enhanced sentence of four additional years.
Remember that the above guidelines are represent the maximum possible sentences. Clients whose cases are properly defended can receive complete dismissals or reductions in sentences. Not everyone charged with grand theft goes to jail and the Law Office of James Dunn will fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
In addition to the above court-ordered penalties, a felony grand theft conviction on your record could keep you from getting a job, owning a firearm, renting an apartment, or pursuing a higher education. For this reason, you want a lawyer to help you avoid conviction whenever possible.
How Can I Defend Against Grand Theft Charges?
There are many different legal defense possible in a grand theft case, including:
- You did not intend to steal the property;
- The property was not actually worth more than $950;
- You believed you had the right to take the property;
- The owner consented to you taking the property;
- You were falsely accused of the crime.
A defense attorney will determine which offenses may apply in your case and will know how to effectively present them to the court.
What Will My Defense Attorney Do First?
When you decide to retain an attorney, the first thing they will do is “enter” on your case. This means that the attorney will file a document with the appropriate court indicating that they represent you. If you are still being held, your attorney may then argue to have your bond reduced or waived so that you can get out of jail while your case is pending.
From here, what your attorney does will depend largely on the specific circumstances of your case. If the police are asking to interview you, your lawyer will attend any meetings with you. They will also thoroughly investigate your case by talking to you, requesting documents from the police, talking to witnesses, and reviewing evidence to see whether any defenses apply or whether the police violated your rights during the investigation. In many cases, after such investigation is complete, your attorney will communicate with the prosecutor handling your case in order to determine whether you may be able to enter into a plea bargain agreement. If not, your lawyer will represent you at every hearing you need to attend and present your case at trial, if one occurs.