Theft cases can involve a young adult who steals for the first time to a career criminal with prior convictions. Each case will present a unique set of circumstances that must be evaluated properly and with great detail to affect the best result on the client’s behalf. Minor and first-time offenses cases are often misdemeanor in nature, and punishment for such cases will involve informal (summary probation), up to one year of custody in the county jail, fines/fees, as well as restitution to the victim, if any. More serious matters may be filed as a felony, especially those involving violence.
In felony theft cases, depending on the underlying circumstances involved, the punishment may involve a grant of formal probation (a probation officer is assigned to the defendant), up to one year in the county jail, fines/fees and restitution. Alternatively, a felony theft case may also involve the judge denying a defendant probation and imposing a term of state prison time. In certain felony theft cases, where there is significant monetary loss, the ability to provide restitution to the victim early on in the proceedings can have a mitigating effect for purposes of sentencing. In fact, there are situations in certain felony theft cases where the offender can even “earn” a misdemeanor before, during or after probation.
As with other criminal violations, for those offenders with prior theft-related convictions, or who are on probation in another case, the consequences can multiply quickly. Whether it is a defendant’s “first time” stealing or whether the defendant has a history of theft conviction, an honest and frank discussion with an experienced and local attorney is strongly encouraged to evaluate potential defenses and/or develop a negotiation strategy with the prosecutor. It is also important to discuss the potential impact a theft-related case may have on one’s job and employment, as well as immigration consequences.
While there are countless theft-related violations listed in the Penal & Vehicle Codes, the following discussions include some of the more common offenses, as well as defenses available to fight or mitigate the charge. If you do not see the offense you are looking for listed below, feel free to contact attorney, Jeffrey D. Armendariz, for further information.