When we think of theft, we usually think of it in terms of taking physical items from others that do not belong to us. In the digital age, however, theft has evolved into something else entirely.
In addition to retail theft (shoplifting) and stealing personal property from others, theft includes embezzlement, identity theft, and fraud. These crimes are particularly serious and carry extreme penalties as they are often charged in federal courts, rather than state courts where most defendants are held accountable for their crimes.
If you have been charged with a theft crime at the state or federal level, call The Rodriguez Law Group today for a consultation.
Theft is divided into two categories at the state level – petty theft and grand theft. Grand theft occurs when the value of the property stolen exceeds $950 or meets one of several specific categorizations. Otherwise, the theft is considered “petty theft.”
Do not let the “petty” name downplay the severity of being charged with this offense. Theft crimes are seen as a sign of dishonesty and can affect your personal and professional life; a conviction of even a misdemeanor may affect your housing, professional, and personal opportunities in the future.
Most often, these crimes involve stealing from retail stores, yards of others, farmland, taking personal property from others in public (which can also lead to robbery charges) or from another’s home (burglary).
Financial Crimes Theft
The same California laws that govern general theft also govern some of the state-level financial crimes as well. These include:
- Finding lost property with identifying information (credit card, identification) and failing to make “reasonable and just efforts” to find the owner
- Being a store employee and allowing friends or colleagues opportunities to steal (or ringing up less than the individual actually took with them)
- Using a forged, expired, revoked, or third party’s electronic payment to purchase goods or services
- Using another’s credit or banking information without their consent (even family members)
The California statute uses the term “access card” to broadly encompass any information that obtains access to another’s accounts or personal information. Anytime you are using account information that is not yours, without permission, you may be guilty of one of these crimes.
These crimes can lead to more significant crimes at the federal level; most unlawful activities conducted via the internet (such as purchasing products online with a credit card you do not have permission to use) will lead to federal charges, as will crimes regarding obtaining this information unlawfully in the first place if it involved the computer or hacking in any way.
Crimes involving fraud and embezzlement often occur on the federal level, as well, with accounts spanning multiple states and often involving parties in multiple legal jurisdictions. Misusing, misappropriating, or spending funds that are not rightfully yours in either your personal or professional life may lead to serious consequences at both the state and federal level; if you have been accused of committing any theft-related crime in the Los Angeles area, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
Los Angeles Theft Crimes Defense Attorney
Ambrosio E. Rodriguez is a knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. With previous prosecutorial experience, Attorney Rodriguez knows what options are available to those charged with all crimes, ranging from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies with prison time as a possible punishment.
He will work hard to advocate for a lessening or dismissal of charges and will fight to ensure your legal rights are protected from the moment you are arrested through plea negotiations, trial, and appeal, if necessary. Contact him at his convenient Los Angeles or Riverside office toll free at (213) 995-6767.