When someone intentionally takes property belonging to another person, they are said to have committed a theft. While robbery may come to mind when theft is mentioned, stealing another person’s identity, forging their signature, failing to return property and even not returning a library book are all examples of theft crimes.

Difference Between Petty and Grand Theft

Theft is classified according to the value the stolen property has at fair market price. The two main theft classifications in California are:

  • Petty theft, which is theft of property less than $950
  • Grand theft, any theft over $950

Each of these carries different legal consequences and will greatly differ depending on the financial value of the property stolen.

Petty theft is often charged as a misdemeanor, which can carry up to six months of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines. A person convicted of multiple petty thefts may be charged with grand theft.

Not only can a high dollar amount be attached to a grand theft, but the stealing of guns, vehicles, and livestock are also considered grand theft. Depending on the value of the goods stolen, the penalties for grand theft can be severe.

A common defense to petty and grand theft charges in California is that the person brought up on theft charges was under the belief that they had a legal right to possess the property. However, each case is different and there are other ways that an experienced attorney may be able to reduce or eliminate any charges stemming from a theft.

If you or a loved one have been charged with theft in California, contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen right away. Our firm offers free consultations and can help defend you against accusations of petty or grand theft