Theft Crimes Lawyer San Diego
THE DEDICATION & EXPERIENCE YOU DESERVE
The unavoidable truth is that everyone makes mistakes. At the law firm of George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates, our experienced San Diego theft crimes attorney is dedicated to ensuring that such mistakes do not dictate your future. Both a powerful negotiator and a seasoned, aggressive trial attorney, George H. Ramos, Jr. possesses the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to ensure clients get the effective representation they deserve.
At George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates, we start negotiations with the prosecution immediately. If you’ve been arrested for theft, a white collar crime such as tax evasion or embezzlement, or another financial or property crime, we may be able to help you escape being charged, convicted, and penalized with jail time or probation. As a former prosecutor, with over 20 year’s combined experience in criminal law, San Diego theft crimes attorney George H. Ramos, Jr. is well versed in how prosecutors operate and knows exactly how to exploit weaknesses in the case brought against you.
Potential criminal penalties for many theft crimes are harsh, and as crimes of moral turpitude, the collateral consequences of certain convictions can be devastating. Avoid the severity of a theft crimes conviction with dedicated and experienced representation. Contact George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates today.
PROP 47 & THEFT CRIMES LAW
Redefining misdemeanor classification standards for particular crimes, the passage of Proposition 47 by California voters in November 2014 had a monumental effect on theft crimes law. Qualifying theft crimes are now required to be charged as misdemeanors, instead of felonies, if the value of the property stolen does not exceed $950, and prior felony convictions are now subject to the retroactive procedures of resentencing and reclassification. Affected crimes include:
- Grand Theft: All thefts of $950 or less are now petty theft, including theft of automobiles and firearms.
- Receiving Stolen Property: Offenses involving stolen property valued at $950 or less are misdemeanors.
- Commercial Burglary: The crime of shoplifting was created, carving out a specific misdemeanor offense previous charged as commercial burglary.
- Forgery: Offenses involving a check, bond, bank bill, note, cashier’s check, traveler’s check, or money order, where the value of the item involved does not exceed $950, are misdemeanors.
- Check Fraud/ Passing Bad Checks: Offenses involving amounts not exceeding $950 are misdemeanors.
- Petty Theft with a Prior: Prop 47 eliminated subdivision (a) of PC § 666 and narrowed the types of serious priors making defendant’s eligible for prosecution.
Specific exceptions to the law will affect eligibility. Individuals with prior convictions for certain serious or violent felonies and those required to register under California’s Sex Offender Registration Act will be subject to original classification standards and are barred from seeking retroactive relief under Prop 47, regardless of stolen property values.
CALIFORNIA THEFT CRIMES
In California, theft crimes is a complex area of law, encompassing a multitude of theft and theft-related charges that vary greatly in degrees severity. At George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates, our experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney defends clients against theft crimes of every type, including:
PETTY THEFT (PC §§ 484, 488)
Petty theft is the theft of money, labor, or real or personal property with a value equal to or less than $950. The value of the property stolen is determined based on the reasonable and fair market value. While petty theft is usually a misdemeanor charge, the sentence can still include jail time and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re facing petty theft charges, our San Diego petty theft lawyer can help.
Penal Code § 484 identifies four types of petty theft: larceny; embezzlement; false pretenses; and theft by trick. The most common form of petty theft is larceny, which is the taking and carrying away of tangible personal property of another by trespass with the intent to permanently (or for an unreasonable time) deprive the person of his interest in the property.
Typically, petty theft is a misdemeanor offense, punishable with a sentence of up to six months in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $1000. However, in cases where the offender has no prior theft-related convictions and the value of property stolen does not exceed $50, an experienced defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to get petty theft charged as an infraction, punishable by a fine of no more than $250.
GRAND THEFT (PC § 487)
Grand theft is the theft of money, labor, or real or personal property with a value exceeding $950, based on the reasonable and fair market value of the stolen property. Like petty theft, larceny, embezzlement, false pretenses, and theft by trick are all forms of grand theft.
Grand theft is a wobbler, meaning it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the criminal penalty is a term of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine not to exceed $1000. Felony grand theft is punishable by a term of 16 months, two years, or three years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, the law requires state prison sentences under certain circumstances.
GRAND THEFT AUTO (PC § 487(d)(1))
Grand theft auto is the theft of a motor vehicle with a value exceeding $950. Though grand theft auto is a wobbler, it is typically charged as a felony and criminal penalties for a conviction are the same as grand theft.
GRAND THEFT OF A FIRE ARM (PC § 487(d)(2))
Grand theft of a fire arm is always charged as a felony and will result in a state prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years. Considered a serious felony under PC § 1192.7(c), grand theft of a fire arm is a strike offense under California’s three strikes law. Therefore, if you have been charged with this crime, it is imperative that you contact George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates immediately.
EMBEZZLEMENT (PC § 503)
Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. Embezzlement is committed when an individual, who is entrusted with property due to the owner’s trust of that individual, fraudulently converts or uses that property for his or her own benefit, with the intent deprive the rightful owner. In California, the intent to temporarily deprive the rightful owner is sufficient.
Based on the value of the property involved, embezzlement will be categorized as either petty theft or grand theft, and the same misdemeanor and felony classifications and criminal penalties will apply.
FRAUD & FORGERY CRIMES
Fraud and forgery cover a vast number of theft crimes such as mail fraud, check fraud, internet fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, and passing bad checks. Other charges include:
Credit Card Fraud: fraudulently acquiring or retaining a credit card or account number; making counterfeit access cards or account numbers; or obtaining property by representing oneself as the rightful holder of the credit card.
Insurance Fraud: fraudulent claims; multiple claims; or destruction of insured property.
Identity Theft: unauthorized use, fraudulent possession, and/or the fraudulent sale of personal identifying information, as well as false personation.
Counterfeiting: copying or imitating an item without having been authorized to do so and passing the copy off for the genuine or original item.
Forging or Passing Documents: false signatures; forgery by endorsement; or altering or falsifying a will.
For more information on white collar crimes and potential criminal penalties, please contact George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates today.
SHOPLIFTING (PC § 459.5)
Shoplifting is the entering of a commercial establishment that is open during regular business hours, with the intent to commit larceny of property of a value not exceeding $950. All other entry of a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny is commercial burglary.
Shoplifting is charged as a misdemeanor and punishable with a sentence of up to six months in county jail and/or a fine not to exceed $1000.
RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY (PC § 460)
The crime of burglary involves the entering of property of another, including structures, rooms, and vehicles, with the intent to commit a theft or felony once inside.
First degree burglary (residential burglary) is burglary of an inhabited dwelling. An inhabited dwelling is a structure where people live, and includes homes, hotel rooms, and camping tents. First degree burglary is classified as a felony, counts as a strike under California’s three strikes law, and is punishable by a term of two, four, or six years in state prison.
COMMERCIAL BURGLARY (PC § 459)
Second degree burglary (commercial burglary) is the burglary of all other structures, which are not considered inhabited dwellings. Auto burglary is a type of second degree burglary committed by entering a locked vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony.
Second degree burglary is classified as a wobbler: misdemeanors carry up to one year in county jail and felonies may result in a sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years in county jail.
RECEIPT OF STOLEN PROPERTY (PC § 469)
Receipt of stolen property is a criminal offense that involves the buying, selling, receiving, concealing, or withholding of property that has been stolen, and which the individual knows is stolen property.
Where the stolen property involved is valued at $950 or less, the offense will be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year in county jail.
In cases where stolen property values exceed $950, receipt of stolen property is considered a wobbler and may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Felony charges may result in imprisonment for a term of 16 months, two years, or three years.
ROBBERY (PC § 211)
Robbery is the taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence and against his will, by means of force or fear, done with the intent to permanently (or for an unreasonable time) deprive the rightful owner.
In California, robbery is always charged as a felony and is a strike under California’s three strikes law. The crime is divided into two degrees. First degree robbery is robbery committed in an inhabited structure, robbery of drivers or passengers of buses, taxis, cars, subways, etc., and robbery of individuals whom have just used and are still in the vicinity of ATMs. The criminal penalty is a state prison sentence of between three and nine years.
Second degree robbery is any robbery that does not fall under first degree robbery. A conviction carries a state prison sentence of two, three or five years.
CARJACKING (PC § 215)
Carjacking is committed when an individual uses force or fear to take a vehicle, owned by another, from the immediate presence and against the will of either the person in possession of the vehicle or a passenger, with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive that person of possession.
In California, carjacking is a violent offense and is a strike under California’s three strikes law. Charged as a felony with a potential state prison sentence of three, five or nine years, an individual faces punishment for each victim present in the car at the time of the carjacking.
For first-time theft offenders charged with petty theft, participation in a petty theft diversion program may be a pre-trial option. Diversion programs center on an individual’s fulfillment of specific court-mandated requirements, and the successful completion of the program results in both dismissal of the charge and expungement of the arrest record.
Petty theft diversion requirements may include, but are not limited to, repayment of the value of property allegedly stolen, completion of an agreed-upon number of community service hours, as well as the attendance of anti-theft classes.
Get the Information You Need & Representation You Deserve
There are a variety of defenses to California theft crimes and under some circumstances, pretrial options and sentencing alternatives may also be available. To get more information and explore your options, contact George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates today for a free consultation with our bilingual attorneys. Whether you have been wrongfully charged or made an unfortunate mistake, dedicated and experienced representation can make a difference.