THEFT CRIMES DEFENSE ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
Crime rates in Southern California have resulted in stringent theft laws and strict penalties for theft crimes like petty theft, grand theft and embezzlement. Unfortunately, that means even defendants accused of committing relatively minor theft crimes like shoplifting may face aggressive prosecution and overly strict sentencing upon conviction. If you are convicted of a theft crime in Orange County, you could face heavy fines, a lengthy county jail or state prison sentence, and a permanent criminal record, in addition to other potential penalties that can have an adverse effect on the rest of your life. For more information about Orange County theft laws, or to find out how best to defend yourself against a theft crime like petty theft, contact our Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today.
Affordable Orange County Theft Crimes Defense Attorney
Theft crimes carry serious consequences in Orange County and the best way to protect your rights and avoid the penalties stemming from a theft conviction is to hire a skilled Orange County defense attorney to represent your case. At Seyb Law Group, we understand that all theft crimes cases are different, with unique circumstances that can affect prosecution and sentencing, and we recognize the value of giving clients the individualized attention their case deserves, so we can ensure that all their legal needs are met. At Seyb Law Group, we understand how devastating a theft crimes conviction would be for you and your family, and no matter what type of theft crime you are facing, we will use every resource at our disposal to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. Our lawyers are skilled and trial-tested, and we will ensure that you understand the criminal charges you are facing and the possible defenses that may apply to your case.
Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the Orange County criminal justice system, and we are committed to protecting the rights of the criminally accused in Orange County and the surrounding counties. We know what defense strategies are most effective in criminal cases involving petty theft, grand theft, embezzlement and other types of theft, and the sooner you hire our firm, the sooner we can get to work protecting your rights and your freedom. If criminal charges have not yet been filed, we may be able to help you avoid being charged or prosecuted altogether. If you have already been charged with theft, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to have the charges reduced to a lesser offense, or in some cases, dismissed outright. If the evidence against you is irrefutable and you are found guilty at trial, we will work tirelessly to minimize the criminal consequences of a conviction.
Theft is a broad term that encompasses any crime in which a person intentionally takes property belonging to another person without that person’s permission, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of their property. Theft can also be charged in cases where the alleged victim gives the property to the defendant willingly, if the defendant obtained that property fraudulently or under false pretenses. The following are some, but not all, of the theft crimes we represent at Seyb Law Group.
Petty theft is the act of unlawfully taking property that doesn’t belong to you, without consent, and with the intent to steal that property. The main element that sets the crime of Orange County petty theft apart from grand theft is the value of the stolen property. Under Penal Code § 484(a) PC and Penal Code § 488 PC, petty theft is charged when the value of the stolen property is $950 or less. Most people think of shoplifting when they think of petty theft, but shoplifting is actually a separate theft crime governed by PC § 459.5.
Grand theft is a crime similar in nature to petty theft, in that it also involves the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to steal the property. However, there are certain factors that make grand theft its own crime, namely the type and value of the property. If the value of the stolen property is more than $950, for instance, the crime is considered grand theft, rather than petty theft. Also, if the stolen property is a car or firearm, the crime is always grand theft under PC § 487, regardless of the value of the property.
Embezzlement is another type of Orange County theft crime that involves unlawfully taking something that belongs to another person, but the element that makes embezzlement unique from petty theft and grand theft is that the stolen property must have been entrusted to the alleged offender for embezzlement to be charged under PC § 503. Embezzlement, also known as “employee theft,” commonly occurs when an employee with access to money, credit card numbers or bank accounts belonging to his or her clients or employer, takes the money or property without permission and uses it for his or her own benefit.
Penalties for Orange County Theft Crimes
Theft crimes are prosecuted harshly in Orange County, and even defendants with little or no criminal history are at risk for serious criminal consequences. Theft crimes in Orange County can vary a great deal in type and severity, and the punishment associated with a theft crime conviction can also vary, depending on the manner in which the theft was carried out, the amount of loss involved in the theft and the defendant’s criminal history. For instance, a misdemeanor petty theft conviction is a relatively minor crime punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. On the other hand, a felony embezzlement conviction is punishable by up to three years in county jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines. And while most theft convictions can eventually be expunged under Penal Code § 1203.4 PC, the conviction and dismissal will still show up on background checks, which can affect your ability to secure employment.
Because theft crimes involve taking another person’s property without permission, which requires a certain amount of deception, dishonesty or fraud, there are also certain collateral consequences that can accompany a conviction for petty theft, grand theft or embezzlement, possibly including job loss or a loss of employment prospects. Additionally, some theft crimes, like grand theft auto, are considered crimes of “moral turpitude,” which means a conviction could cause you to lose your professional license, like your right to practice law, impeach your credibility as a witness, and/or affect your immigration status if you are not a citizen of the United States. Most crimes of moral turpitude are also “inadmissible crimes,” which means a conviction could prevent you from becoming a U.S. citizen, re-entering the country after leaving, or applying for a green card or an adjustment of your immigration status from illegal to legal.
Proposition 47, also known as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” was passed by California voters in 2014, and the law effectively reduced the penalties for certain theft crimes and drug crimes in Orange County. If you have been convicted of a felony theft crime in Orange County, you may be eligible to apply for resentencing under Proposition 47 to have your felony sentence reduce to a misdemeanor.
California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law
Certain theft crimes charged as felony offenses, like grand theft with a firearm, are also considered “strike” offenses under California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law, which means they can be used to justify a sentencing enhancement for subsequent serious or violent felony offenses. Under this law, defendants with one prior strike offense on their record can face double the prison sentence otherwise required by law for a subsequent felony conviction, and defendants with two or more strike priors can face an automatic prison sentence of 25 years to life for a subsequent felony conviction.
Orange County CA Theft Crimes Defense
Theft crimes are taken very seriously in the state of California and being arrested for a theft crime like grand theft or embezzlement can be overwhelming and frightening, especially if you have had little experience with the Orange County criminal justice system. The most important thing to remember in this situation is that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Just because you have been accused of committing a theft crime does not mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing. And no matter what type of theft crime charges you are facing, or how they came about, you still have important rights, including the right to legal representation and a fair trial. The prosecutor assigned to your case will do everything in his or her power to get a conviction and it takes the expertise of a knowledgeable Orange County criminal defense attorney to craft a winning defense in your theft case.
As is the case in any criminal proceeding, the defendant in an Orange County theft case has the presumption of innocence on his or her side. This critical legal principle states that the defendant is legally considered innocent unless proven guilty. And the prosecution bears the burden of proof in a criminal case as well, which means in order to prove your guilt and get a conviction in your theft crimes case, the prosecutor will have to establish each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That means he or she must prove the crime to the extent that there could be no reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that you are guilty. The main priority of your defense attorney is to successfully challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you and create doubt in the minds of the jury as to your guilt.
Best Defense Strategies in Theft Crimes Cases
Any time you are facing charges for a theft crime in Orange County, your freedom, your future and your reputation are on the line. Fortunately, depending on the circumstances of your case, there are a number of possible defenses your attorney can present on your behalf to fight theft crime charges in Orange County, including the following:
- Mistake of fact or law
- Owner’s consent
- Lack of knowledge
- Claim of ownership or right of possession
- Intoxication resulting in a lack of intent to steal
How Hiring a Theft Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help
Being arrested for or charged with a theft crime in Orange County requires immediate intervention by a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience defending theft cases. Unless you have a criminal defense background, you probably don’t realize in how many different ways your rights can be violated with regard to theft crime arrests and prosecution, and that is where we come in. Our attorneys at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we have successfully represented clients charged with all manner of theft crimes, including petty theft, grand theft and embezzlement. We have a clear understanding of Orange County criminal law and how it applies to your case and we will do everything in our power to fight the charges against you, including examining the specific details of your arrest, launching an independent investigation into the prosecution’s theft allegations, and interviewing expert witnesses to mount a solid defense.
Contact Our Orange County Theft Crime Defense Attorneys
Many people accused of committing theft crimes in Orange County are honest, productive citizens who made an unfortunate mistake and deserve a second chance, and sometimes theft charges are even filed against innocent people as the result of a false accusation or mistaken identity. Whatever the circumstances of the alleged offense, having a theft crime on your record can have long-term negative consequences for your personal and professional life, even if the crime is a relatively minor one. To successfully fight your theft crime charges, you need a defense attorney who is well-versed in Orange County criminal law and who has a proven record of success defending clients accused of theft crimes. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a theft crime in Orange County or the surrounding counties, do not hesitate to get qualified legal help. Contact our defense team at Seyb Law Group today to schedule your free initial consultation.