No matter what side of the law you are on in terms of concern about theft, it is important to understand the definitions according to California law—with different tiers being designated for types and amounts of money associated with stealing, like grand theft larceny. Theft is often related to the retail atmosphere, with entrepreneurs losing a substantial amount of money to shoplifters each year, and although they employ many different methods to deter such activity, it is an ongoing challenge.
While stealing and theft are basic terms meaning the same thing—and as the state of California states,’ the intentional and unlawful taking of the personal property of another’— there are more dramatic terms used by law enforcement and the courts, such as grand theft larceny, which is applied to crimes where more than $950 worth of items are stolen from an individual or a business. This is a felony in most cases and those charged can be sent to prison for up to three years. Any theft under $950 is considered petty theft and is usually charged in connection with basic shoplifting.
Kleptomania is often associated with repeated offenders too. This is an illness that should be treated as a mental health disorder though, as such individuals are usually experiencing emotional pain, as well as possible confusion and issues with negative compulsions. Kleptomaniacs may steal even when they have no plans to use an item—and may even put it back later without saying anything. Either petty theft or grand theft larceny may be involved as such offenders have little use for how much something costs (or what it is even meant for, to begin with) and may not even check a price tag.
If a car is involved in the theft, it may be considered grand theft auto, although joy riding and carjacking are usually treated differently by the court. Grand theft auto occurs when you move a car without permission, no matter how short a distance or for how little time. This is usually a car that belongs to someone else, and in taking it, you deprive them of their vehicle intentionally. Charges may also be reduced to a misdemeanor if you are found guilty of joyriding (unlawful taking or driving of a vehicle).
If you need legal assistance with a criminal matter, please call the Dolan Law Offices now. We will listen carefully to your concerns, review your case, and offer advice based on many years of experience. John Patrick Dolan understands California’s complex criminal defense laws, including drug charges, white collar crimes, DUI, domestic violence, sexual assault charges, and violent & serious felonies. At the Dolan Law Offices, we provide the experience you need to help you fight for your rights and best interests. Call us at (760) 775-3739 or contact us online as soon as possible.