Misdemeanor or Felony in Los Angeles? Insights from a Theft Crime Attorney
In Los Angeles, as in most jurisdictions, theft crimes can fall into one of two main categories: misdemeanors or felonies. The distinction between these charges can sometimes be subtle but has significant implications for the accused. Consulting a Los Angeles theft attorney early on can greatly benefit your understanding of potential charges and their consequences.
- Value of Stolen Property: The financial value of what was allegedly stolen plays a pivotal role in determining the severity of the charge. Determining this value can sometimes be subjective and might benefit from the expertise of a Los Angeles theft attorney. As a rule of thumb, theft of items valued at $950 or less is often classified as a misdemeanor in Los Angeles. This might seem straightforward, but given fluctuating market values and subjective valuations, a seasoned theft crime attorney can sometimes challenge the estimated worth, potentially reducing charges.
- Nature of Stolen Property: Certain items, given their importance, might result in harsher penalties, making the role of a Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer vital. Not all thefts are evaluated based on monetary value alone. The nature of the stolen item, whether it’s a precious heirloom, a piece of art, or a utility item, can influence charges. For instance, some items, due to their intrinsic or symbolic value, can escalate charges even if they’re not costly.
- Prior Criminal Record: Your previous run-ins with the law, if any, can significantly impact the current charges against you. First-time offenders might be shown leniency, with their first, second, or even third “petty theft” offense usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor. But if you exhibit a pattern of recurring offenses, and are charged with a fourth petty theft offense (termed as “petty with three priors”), the prosecution might escalate the charge to a felony. If you have prior charges, having a Los Angeles theft attorney to navigate your case is particularly important.
Given the complexities of theft charges in Los Angeles, it’s crucial not to take them lightly. Even if the charge seems minor, the potential repercussions on your record, reputation, and future can be profound. Securing representation and advice from a reputable Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer should be a top priority.
Defending Against Theft Charges in Los Angeles with a Trusted Theft Crime Attorney
When defending a client against theft charges, as a trusted theft crime attorney, Wegman & Levin know that there may be other factors at work. Perhaps you believed the property was yours, or intended to return the property to its owner, or maybe there was some police misconduct in your arrest. We can explore the behavior of the arresting officers to investigate police misconduct. Engaging with a Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer ensures that every facet of the case, including potential police misconduct, is thoroughly examined. If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the theft, it is possible that you lacked the intent to deprive ownership and can have the sentence reduced to just disorderly conduct or public drunkenness. Regardless of the circumstances, the theft crime attorney team at Wegman & Levin is committed to presenting the best argument possible in your favor.