Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson

Call Today for a Free Consultation | Se Habla Espanol

408-246-3004

247 N. Third Street, San Jose, CA 95112

San Jose Theft Defense Attorney

san jose theft defense attorney

Santa Clara County Defense Lawyer Serving in Cupertino, Campbell, Milpitas and the Bay Area

Theft includes a variety of offenses including employee theft, embezzlement, fraud, and retail theft. Many people who are charged with theft were either at the wrong place or the wrong time or made bad decisions due to their financial situation. It is imperative to consult a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can advise you on your rights. Attorney Erik Johnson has over ten years of experience aiding clients throughout the Bay Area.

Types of Theft in Santa Clara County

The types of theft in California with which an individual can be charged include the following:

  • Auto Burglary - Not to be confused with vehicle theft, auto burglary is the breaking into a vehicle with the intent to commit a felony.
  • Grand Theft Auto (PC 487(d)(1)) - GTA is the theft of a car with the intent to permanently deprive it from its owner. This is a serious offense; however, it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. As a felony, it is punishable by up to three years in the state penitentiary.
  • Unlawful Taking of a Vehicle (PC 10851) - This offense is commonly referred to as the "joying riding" statute. It may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony and does not require the element of permanent deprivation from the owner.
  • Burglary (PC 459) - Burglary occurs when an individual enters a structure with the intent to commit a felony inside. Committing a theft is not a necessary element to prove burglary. Only the intent to commit a felony. Burglary is divided between first degree and second degree offenses. Residential burglary is a first-degree offense and is punishable by up to six years in the state penitentiary. All other burglaries are second degree and can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.
  • Embezzlement (PC 503) - Embezzlement is the taking of property that was entrusted to the defendant by the victim. This is not just a complicated "white collar" crime, but increasingly employees stealing from the "dill" are being charged with embezzlement. This is both a misdemeanor and felony offense depending on the amount of the taking and whether the defendant has prior theft offenses.
  • Grand Theft (PC 487) - Taking property with the intent to permanently deprive it from its owner, which has a value of more than $950 constitutes the crime of grand theft. Such an offense may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
  • Petty Theft (PC 488) - Taking property with the intent to permanently deprive it from its owner, which has a value of less than $950 constitutes the crime of petty theft, or more properly termed "theft by larceny." Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense and as a first time offense is punishable by a $1000 fine and up to six months in the county jail.
  • Shoplifting (PC 459.5) - Shoplifting is now distinguishable from second degree burglary. Proposition 47 created Penal Code section 459.5, which states: "[S]hoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950)." Any other theft of a business is still defined as second degree burglary. Thus, shoplifting is a petty offense of a commercial business. On a first offense, a conviction for shoplifting may result in a fine of up to $1000 and no more than six months in the county jail.
  • Mail Theft (PC 530.5) - Knowingly taking mail from a mailbox, post office, or postal worker is not only a state crime, but it is a federal crime as well.
  • Receiving Stolen Property (PC 496) - Taking possession of property knowing that it is stolen is a crime that may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Like other thefts, the distinction depends on whether the value of the property exceeds $950. A felony is punishable by up to three years in prison.

Defenses in California

Fortunately, there are defenses that an experienced lawyer can use. Some of these defenses include:

  • Consent - There is no theft if the property owner consented to your possession, so long as the possession was within the scope of that consent.
  • Intent - An element of theft is the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Without that intent, there is no crime of theft.
  • Mistaken Belief - A reasonable belief that you had the right to possess the property is a common defense to theft.
  • It's Your Property - If the property actually belongs to you, taking possession of it is not a crime. However, as with the defense of property, the act of taking possession must be reasonable.

Contact a California Theft Defense Lawyer

Attorney Erik Johnson has helped many individuals craft and successfully implement a strong legal defense in response to felony or misdemeanor theft charges. Call our office today at 408-246-3004 or complete our online contact form. We serve clients throughout the Bay Area including Santa Clara County and Alameda County. Se habla Español.

Back to Top