Grand Theft: Penal Code 487(A)
I have been successfully representing clients faced with grand theft or other theft related criminal charges for over 10 years. I know how devastating and stressful it can be to have criminal charges of any kind looming over your head. You job, reputation and freedom are at stake, often times because of one act of bad judgment, or because of a legitimate misunderstanding. I pride myself in zealously defending and fighting for my clients when they are at the lowest point in their life. Having a caring and knowledgeable attorney who has a good relationship with the prosecutors and judges in your jurisdiction is crucial to obtaining the best possible results. Please call me if you or a loved one is facing theft charges in one of the Los Angeles or Pasadena area courts.
Penal Code section 487 defines grand theft as the stealing of property from another that is valued at more than $950. However, irrespective of the value, the statute defines grand theft as also being committed if the item stolen is a firearm or vehicle, or if the theft involves taking property from a person. Grand theft can be filed either as a felony or misdemeanor, and it is completely within the District Attorney’s discretion on how to file the charges. Usually the DA will consider a person’s prior criminal history or lack thereof, the amount of the theft, and any mitigating or aggravating facts in the case. The District Attorney will usually file grand theft as a felony charge, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in county jail. However, in court, the defense can sometimes convince the handling DA to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor if the victim has been made whole. If the property is valued at $950 or less, then the prosecutor can only charge the offense as a misdemeanor petty theft.
A civil compromise, under California Penal Code section 1377 and 1378, is a way to potentially get the court to dismiss a misdemeanor theft charge. This involves the victim acknowledging all restitution has been paid and that the victim is agreeable to the criminal charges being dismissed. If the judge grants the motion for civil compromise, the criminal charges are dismissed and the case becomes a civil matter. Sometimes, a felony grand theft can be reduced to a misdemeanor by the DA, or by the Judge, and then the misdemeanor crime can be dismissed after a successful civil compromise.
Proposition 47 has resulted in many people being able to get previous convictions for felony thefts reduced to misdemeanors. If you have a prior felony conviction for commercial burglary, check fraud, petty theft with a prior or some other theft offense, consult with an attorney to see if your prior conviction may be eligible for a reduction under Prop 47.
There are numerous other related theft crimes such as shoplifting, petty theft, receiving stolen property, robbery, residential burglary, commercial burglary, embezzlement, fraud, and identity theft. The elements for each theft offense are different and to be convicted, the District Attorney must be able to prove each element of the offense by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
“There will always be innocent people wrongly arrested or charged with a crime by our over-grown and over-reaching government. However, I realize that good, moral people with families and careers sometimes make a mistake or succumb to bad judgment. A one-time mistake can result in a person finding him or herself in the clutches of the criminal justice system, which can turn into the most frightening and embarrassing time in a person’s life. I understand that representing someone who was arrested or charged with grand theft or any criminal offense involves more than technical legal expertise. It requires patience and compassion and a desire to help people when they need it most. I strive to help my clients achieve the best possible results in their case, whether that means a dismissal of the charges, an acquittal at trial, or a reduction of the charges with no jail.” Ann Gottesman
Pasadena Theft Crimes Lawyer Ann Gottesman is here to answer your questions about your theft charges. Ann is compassionate and dedicated to obtaining the best possible results for her clients. She understands that one’s job, career, professional license, and freedom are all at stake when the government files criminal charges against a citizen. Having an experienced attorney is critical to obtaining the best outcome in any case. So, if you are charged with any theft related crime, call attorney Ann Gottesman for a free consultation. She makes herself available to her clients after hours and on the weekends.