Theft is the stealing of money or property. Whether it’s grabbing a wallet that is left unattended or using funds from your employer’s account to pay the rent, it’s illegal. The penalties stemming from a theft conviction may prevent future employment opportunities and label you a thief for a years afterward. A conviction can also land you behind bars.
Contact veteran Oakland theft lawyer Elliot Silver today. With over 20 years of experience defending the rights of the accused both as a public defender and in private practice, attorney Silver has a dominant presence in and out of court. He will defend you when the whole system seems stacked against you. Start by calling Silver Law Firm at (510) 995-0000 or by submitting our online form.
My daughter who moved to NorCal to attend college got caught in a theft incident at an electronics store. Attorney Silver reviewed all fronts of the case, appeared on her behalf in court, and was able to get her into a program to avoid the charge and conviction. And this was very important to us. Thank you, Attorney Silver!”
California Theft Offenses
When someone is accused of a theft-related crime in California, the exact charge and the corresponding penalties will depend heavily on several factors, including the value of the items taken and your previous criminal history. This system may appear ridged, but a skilled attorney can also use these factors and any other mitigating elements to have your offense dismissed or reduced to a more bearable result.
At Silver Law Firm, we are prepared to handle all types of theft charges and have successfully defended hundreds of people accused of:
- Shoplifting (Penal Code 459.5)
If there is evidence that you took merchandise from a store without paying, you will be charged with a crime. In California, shoplifting is a theft offense. The level of the charge will be based on the specific items you allegedly took and their value. If the merchandise was worth less than $950, you will face petty theft charges. This offense is considered a misdemeanor.
- Theft (Penal Code 484, 488 and 487)
When there is evidence you stole the property of another person or business, then you will be charged with petty or grand theft. Petty theft is for property valued less than $950, while grand theft is for items valued at $950 or more.
- Burglary (Penal Code 458-464)
You can be charged with burglary if there is evidence you entered a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit a felony. This felony might involve a theft crime, but the entry could also be for the purpose of committing any other offense, such as assault or rape.
- Robbery (Penal Code 211-215)
The offense of robbery includes using force or threats of force to acquire another person’s property from them. You can be charged with first or second-degree robbery depending on where the crime takes place.
White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes are entirely about obtaining money and property. They do not involve violence or threats. Sometimes the crime occurs without contact with an individual victim. Our theft defense lawyers are ready to defend you against accusations of a white collar crime, including:
Embezzlement (Penal Code 503-515)
If there is evidence you stole money or property you were entrusted with, then you can be charged with embezzlement. This may be a misdemeanor or felony.
Fraud (Penal Code 532)
Fraud offenses arise from obtaining property through misrepresentation, either by telling lies or making false promises, for personal financial gain. Depending on the circumstances, you can be charged with an offense like check fraud or debit or credit fraud.
Money laundering (Penal Code 186.10)
If there is evidence that you took money you gained during criminal activity and then processed it through another financial transaction to “clean” it, then you may be charged with money laundering.
Forgery (Penal Code 470-483.5)
If you allegedly used another person’s information to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value, then you can be charged with identity theft. This includes using another person’s name, Social Security Number, bank account information, or credit card information.
The Difference Between State and Federal Crimes
While many theft and white collar offenses are crimes under California law, these can also often be charged as federal crimes. A specific crime may be charged at the federal level if:
- The offense occurred on federal property, including the District of Columbia, national parks, or within a federal government office
- The offense included federal money, property, or records
- The crime included the misuse of public funds
- The alleged victim was a federal agency, official, ambassador, or a foreign official
- You crossed state lines during the commission of the crime, including when the offense occurred over the internet, and alleged victims were in states other than yours
- It was investigated by a federal organization like the Federal Bureau of Investigation
If you are charged with a federal theft offense, you need to work with a criminal defense attorney who has experience in federal court. The federal court system has distinct procedures different to California courts, so you’ll need a lawyer who knows the rhythm of the federal system and how to achieve success in it.
Have you been charged with a crime? Contact Silver Law Firm today.
Defenses to Theft Offenses
Even a first-offense theft conviction can have serious and lingering effects on your life. We realize how humiliating it is to be led out of store by a security guard, or accused of forging a check. Fortunately, there are several defense strategies and tactics a skilled defense lawyer will use to help. Once we review the details of your arrest and the evidence being used, we’ll know how to take it apart piece by piece. If there is video from the store in question, we will analyze it for any discrepancies with the police reports. When accounting mistakes are the basis for an embezzlement charge against you, our attention to detail and meticulous review of the records will clear up the matter and show the case for what it is – your employer’s sloppy bookkeeping.
On the other hand, if the evidence is particularly strong and a conviction seems likely, we will present mitigation to the district attorney to show that the offense was a simple lapse in judgment and not something that’s likely to continue. By negotiating with the prosecution, we will seek out a penalty that does not restrict the rest of your life. If a diversion class is an option, we’ll find one. If a felony fraud charge can be reduced to a simple misdemeanor based on paying restitution to a victim, we’ll fight for it.
With more than two decades of criminal defense experience, attorney Elliot Silver will personally review your situation. He’ll carefully analyze the evidence for and against you. He will also advise you on the defenses that are most likely to be effective in minimizing the consequences of a conviction or gaining an acquittal.
Some defenses that may be available in your situation include:
- You had consent for your actions
- You mistakenly took the money or property
- You did not have the requisite intent for the offense
- The prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt
Contact an Oakland Theft Lawyer Today
When theft accusations and criminal charges are being thrown at you, a thousand questions will be whirling around:
- Will people ever trust me again?
- Will I go to jail for this?
- Is this even a big deal?
First, every theft crime needs to be taken seriously from the very beginning. This is critical because not every lawyer fully appreciates the long-term implications attached to a theft conviction. They usually want to plead you into a stock deal and be on their way. Elliot Silver is not that kind of attorney. He knows all too well that the decisions made now, especially regarding a theft offense, will follow you for a long time. A plea agreement to a felony that spares you from a jail sentence may seem like the best option, but when a future employer passes on your job application because there is a felony theft conviction attached to it, your decision may seem naïve and uninformed.
Attorney Silver wants to make sure you receive the best possible outcome, one that will allow you the best chance of success. By contacting Silver Law Firm today, we can begin working on your case as soon as possible. We will also advise you on the next best steps, which may include preparing for trial or attempting to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutors.
To learn more about how we can help you, schedule a free, one-on-one consultation with attorney Silver. Call (510) 995-0000, or submit a request using our online form.