At The Law Offices of Michael Berg our San Diego criminal defense attorney understands the seriousness of criminal charges. If you are facing a misdemeanor, felony or federal charge we will fight for your rights.
401 W A St #2600
San Diego
United States
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Michael Berg

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney | DUI, Federal Crimes


San Diego Theft Defense Lawyer

Theft is the unlawful taking of another person's property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of his or her interest in that property. Theft is a serious charge and the consequences of a conviction can have long lasting effects on your life and the lives of your family. If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of theft, it is essential that you contact an experienced San Diego theft attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Michael S. Berg, our seasoned and skilled criminal defense attorneys will aggressively defend your rights. Call today for a free evaluation of your case.

Types of Theft

Theft crimes can be divided into two general categories. The determining factors for which category a person with charged in depends upon the value of the property stolen, the nature of the crime, the accused's prior convictions, and other circumstances. The two categories are:

Grand theft is the unlawful taking of property that is valued above $400. In some circumstances, however, the value does not matter. Grand theft can be charged regardless of value if the property stolen was a firearm, an automobile, or certain types of animals. Some types of property qualify as grand theft if the value is over $100, including certain farm crops, fruits, vegetables, fish, chickens, or theft of natural resources from another person's property (such as water, oil, or minerals).
Petty theft involves the stealing of property that is valued at less than $400. The most common type of petty theft is the charge of shoplifting.

Defenses to Theft

There are several defenses to both grand theft and petty theft. They include the following:

  • Consent: If one was given permission to take or use the property, they are not guilty of theft. However, the use of the property must be consistent with the scope of the consent that was given. For example, if a farmer says that you can take as many crops from his field that you could carry out in the trunk of your car, you may be guilty of theft if you show up with a dump truck.
  • Claim of right: If one has a legal claim to the property and took it under a claim of right, they are not guilty of theft as long as they had a good faith belief that they were entitled to it. One cannot be guilty of theft if they really believed that it belonged to them.
  • Mistake: One is not guilty of theft if they took the property by mistake, such as becoming distracted and leaving a store without paying for an item. One must have the intent to steal the property to be guilty of theft.

Penalties for Theft Convictions

The penalties for theft can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. In general penalties can include the following:

  • Grand theft: Under California law, grand theft is known as a "wobbler" because the charge may be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the accused’s criminal history and the circumstances of the case. Penalties can include:
    • up to one year in the county jail for a misdemeanor
    • up to 16 months in state prison for a felony
    • restitution to the victims of the crime
    • fines
    • community service
    • court-ordered counseling
  • Petty theft: If the value of the property taken is under $400, petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties can include any of the following:
    • up to 6 months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine
    • a fine of up to $250 for a first offense if the property value is less than $50
    • a fine of up to $400 and/or up to 6 months in the county jail if the property value is more than $50
    • court-ordered probation
    • participation in a diversion program, which may include restitution to the victim, community service, or anti-theft classes

San Diego Theft Attorney

If you have been arrested or accused of any type of theft, you are facing a serious charge. It is extremely important that you contact a San Diego theft attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Michael S. Berg, we have the experience and legal skill to provide you with the best possible defense available. We aggressively fight to win. Call us today.