Although all criminal charges should be taken seriously, theft and other crimes involving dishonesty are considered crimes of moral turpitude, and a conviction for theft can bring your character into question. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is essential to speak with a capable Riverside County theft crime lawyer to determine which actions you should take to help you retain your reputation and liberties. Shaffer T. Cormell is a trustworthy criminal attorney with more than two decades of experience helping people charged with theft crimes. Mr. Cormell can provide you with an aggressive defense and help you seek the best possible legal result under the facts of your case. He represents people charged with theft crimes in the areas around Blythe, Banning, Riverside, Murrieta, Indio, Palm Springs, Coachella, Joshua Tree, Hemet, San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Barstow, Brawley, El Centro, Winterhaven, and other cities throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties.Types of Theft Crimes in California
In California, “theft” encompasses a wide variety of crimes. Theft crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the specific crime. Common theft crimes include petty and grand theft, robbery, burglary, and embezzlement. Petty theft involves taking property with a value of up to $950, while grand theft involves taking property with a value that is greater than $950. Burglary is the act of entering a building with the intent to commit a felony or theft inside, while robbery is the act of using force to take someone else’s property. Embezzlement, which is a white collar theft crime, is the act of fraudulently appropriating property with which you have been entrusted. In addition to the aforementioned crimes, there are several other theft crimes in the California penal code.The Prosecution’s Burden of Proof
To convict a person of a theft crime under California law, the prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the State must produce such strong evidence that the defendant committed the crime alleged that a reasonable person would have no doubt that the defendant was guilty upon reviewing the evidence. Fortunately, a theft crime attorney in Riverside County often can develop strategies to prevent the prosecution from meeting this burden.Defenses to Theft Crimes
If you are charged with a theft crime, there are many defenses that your attorney may be able to mount in an effort to get the charges dismissed or reduced. In some cases, you may be able to argue that you had the consent of the owner of the property to take the property. For example, if you are accused of grand theft auto but can show that you had the driver's permission to take the car, you may be able to avoid a conviction. You may also be able to argue that you lacked the specific intent required for a conviction. Many theft crimes require the State to prove that the defendant knowingly or fraudulently intended to deprive another person of his or her property. Thus, if the State cannot show that you intentionally meant to take someone else's property, you should be found not guilty. A Riverside County theft crime attorney can analyze your situation to determine which defenses may be persuasive.Penalties for a Theft Crime Conviction
The penalties imposed for a conviction for a theft crime depend on the specific crime alleged and, in some cases, on whether it is a first offense or a subsequent offense. For example, a conviction for misdemeanor petty theft with a prior conviction may result in a sentence of incarceration for up to one year. For felonies, the sentence imposed will vary according to the crime but can involve probation, fines, and imprisonment for one year or longer. Convictions for first-degree burglary or robbery may result in imprisonment for up to six years.Meet With a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney Regarding Your Theft Charge
A theft charge in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Imperial County should not be taken lightly, since a theft conviction can damage your reputation and result in the loss of your liberties. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is vital to retain a trusted defense attorney to assist you. Shaffer T. Cormell is a proficient theft crime lawyer in Riverside County who is adept at navigating the California legal system. You can contact Mr. Cormell at (888) 922-5051 or through the online form to set up a meeting to discuss your case.