A lot of the differences between theft charges have to do with force and fear. Robbery is the most serious because someone is taking another's property through force or fear. In burglary, we often see people breaking into a house when no one is home and taking someone's property.
If someone is home, that's a much more serious offense, but as long as the person who is home doesn't interfere with the burglar, it's not going to elevate it to a robbery. Some of the other theft-related offenses, like a larceny, require only intent. You can go into a store and remove items with the intent to steal them, put them back on the shelf, and they can still get you for larceny if they can show that you had the intent to take the items when you moved them.
Is Stealing Over $400 In Merchandise A California Felony?
The cutoff to be charged with a felony for a theft-related offense in Los Angeles County is generally $950 and classified as either petty theft or grand theft. You probably won't be charged with a felony for merchandise under that amount, unless you have a whole bunch of other convictions for theft-related offenses.
The more convictions you have, the more likely it is that prosecutors are going to figure out a way to charge you with a serious offense. Sometimes, even people who have taken over $950 worth of merchandise are only charged with a misdemeanor because they didn't have any prior criminal record.
Theft-related offenses in Los Angeles County have softened up significantly, based on the current political landscape. Having a really good attorney by your side in dealing with these offenses gives you a fighting chance to protect your record and stay out of jail.
California's Three Strikes Law for Theft Or Robbery Charges
The three strikes law consists of a list of crimes that are considered strikes. Some are violent crimes and some are serious crimes. Robbery is considered a violent crime and it's considered a strike.
Other theft-related offenses are typically not on the strike list. However, if you've got one or two strikes and you pick up a new felony, it could be charged as a second or third strike, even though the new felony itself is not a strike. Felonies can trigger the three strikes law, even though those particular felonies might not be strikes themselves. When it comes to the strike law, the punishments are significant. There are doubled and tripled sentences and you are looking at prison if you've got a prior strike.
What Is Considered As Receiving Stolen Property in California?
Receiving stolen property is when the police catch you in possession of someone else's property. The question then becomes did you know, or should you have reasonably known, that the property was stolen? The answer is based on circumstantial evidence.
For example, if you are driving someone's car without paperwork and there is a screwdriver inside it, and the police pull you over, they've got a pretty good argument that you knew that the property was stolen. Sometimes it's a close call and it is going to take a great attorney to fight, if you are going to claim that you didn't know the property was stolen or try and mitigate it down to something less.
For more information on Burglary vs. Robbery vs. Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft, a free initial consultation with our theft crime lawyers is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.