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Grand Theft vs Petty Theft in California

In accordance with California Penal Code 488, any theft of money or property that results in an estimated value of less than $950 is considered petty theft. Anything exceeding $950 is considered grand theft and due to its nature can result in a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value and circumstance of the items stolen.

Whether you are facing charges for petty theft or grand theft, you need to obtain aggressive theft crime defense from our firm. You can set up a free case evaluation with the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse to discuss your unique case.

Petty Theft in CA

Generally a theft crime involving property less than $950 will result in a petty theft offense. Penal Code section 488 contains the regulations regarding petty theft and the penalties. This offense is charged as a misdemeanor offense and is punishable by up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. This crime still involves intentionally taking someone else's property, but the value of the property is less than $950.

Grand Theft in CA

California Penal Code Section 487 holds the regulations for grand theft. Grand theft is more serious than petty theft offenses.

In order for a theft offense to be charged as grand theft, one of the following must be true:

  • The value of the property was more than $950
  • Theft involved over $250 in agricultural products or aquacultural products
  • Theft involved more than $950 in labor over a year period
  • Theft involved property taken from the victim's person
  • Theft involved a firearm

Grand theft offenses hold harsher penalties than petty theft. This offense is a wobbler in California, meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the prosecutor. If a felony, you may be facing up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. If charged as a misdemeanor, you could be looking up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The potential penalties can also fall anywhere between these two scales.

To avoid the consequences for petty theft or grand theft, team up with a Dublin criminal defense lawyer from the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse. Contact our firm now to get started!

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