In California, theft charges could lead to hefty fines and prison sentences. Individuals who are charged with these crimes could build a defense based on the circumstances. For example, the acquisition of stolen goods is a crime, but a lack of knowledge could provide a defense. A theft defense attorney in Torrance, CA helps defendants review certain factors related to their cases.
The Value of the Item Stolen
The value of the stolen item determines the classification for the theft-related crime. If the item is valued at under $1,000, it is considered petty theft. If the item is valued at over $1,000, the crime could be considered grand larceny in some instances.
Did the Defendant Have Permission from the Owner?
A defendant who can prove they had the owner’s permission to use the item could avoid a conviction. However, they must show clear evidence of an agreement between them and the owner. For example, an auto owner who allowed a friend to use a car must provide provisions for using the vehicle. If they allowed another party to use their vehicle without provisions, the owner could not press charges for auto theft just because they didn’t like how the defendant used the vehicle.
Identity Theft Charges
Identity theft charges relate to the use of another party’s confidential information for financial gains or access to services. The crimes involve credit card accounts, bank accounts, and they often start online. Thieves also use electronic devices to collect information from smartphones and chip cards.
Knowledge of Stolen Property
Defendants who were not aware the item they received or purchased was stolen could use the lack of knowledge as a defense. However, they must prove that they weren’t aware and explained details about the individual who sold them the item.
In California, theft charges could present a criminal defendant with an extensive prison sentence. The fines that apply to a conviction equate to the total value of the stolen item. However, some jurisdictions could increase the penalties. Defendants who need help from a theft defense attorney in Torrance, CA are encouraged to contact Shook & Associates Inc. or visit michaelshooklaw.com now.