Grand theft is the unlawful taking of someone else’s property, which is valued as $950.00 or more. This offense is called a wobbler and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Subsequently, the penalties vary depending on whether the District Attorney charges the defendant as a misdemeanor or felony. The prosecutor has the choice to charge the crime under either criterion.
- What does the law say?
- What are the penalties for a conviction under PC 487?
- Can I get more jail time if the price of the item taken was more?
- What are the common defenses to a Grand Theft charge?
- What are the penalties for theft of a firearm?
What does the “Grand Theft” law say?
The application of the law is very similar to Petty Theft, however with one major difference, that the value of the property exceeds $950.00. Penal Code 487 states that Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases: (a) When the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).
The Law on California State Website (External Link)
What are the penalties for a conviction under PC 487?
As mentioned earlier, Grand Theft is a wobbler offense and may be charged as either a misdemenaor or as a felony. If the grand theft is a misdemeanor, the defendant may be sentenced to up to one year in county jail. If convicted of a felony, the defendant may face up to three years in California State prison. Additionally, if the theft is of a firearm, it is an automatic felony and also counts as one strike on the defendant’s record.
Can I get more jail time if the price of the item taken was more?
Yes, you may. Grand theft also carries several enhancements statutes which were enacted to deter such crimes and increase the level of culpability for theft of items of greater value. A sentence enhancement is additional, consecutive time, attached to a conviction if there are specific circumstances involved. The enhancements for grand theft are:
- An additional one (1) year if the value of the property taken exceeds $65,000
- An additional two (2) years if the value of the property taken exceeds $200,000
- An additional three (3) years if the value of the property taken exceeds $1,300,000, and
- An additional four (4) years if the value of the property taken exceeds $3,200,000
What are the common defenses to a Grand Theft charge?
Some of the common defenses used in defending the charge of the theft include, but are not limited to the follow:
- Lack of intent to steal
- Claim of right to the property
- Accusations presented are false
- Defendant had consent from the owner
What are the penalties for theft of a firearm?
Grand theft of a firearm is an outright felony. The District Attorney’s office does not have the discretion to file this charge as a misdemeanor. The conviction of Grand Theft Firearm is sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in state prison. Also, note that this crime is defined as a “serious” felony and is subject to the California Three Strikes Law.