Grand Theft: California Penal Code 488

California Penal Code Section 488 describes the charge of Grand theft and its penalties. Any theft in which the value of the stolen property exceeds $400 is charged as grand theft. An exception to this is theft of a vehicle, which in all cases is charged as grand theft – hence the name grand theft auto. Grand theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the crime and the criminal record of the defendant. These are known as ‘wobblers’.

If a grand theft involves a firearm, state prison terms range from 16 months to 3 years. Any other grand theft conviction comes with a sentence in county jail for up to one year, or a longer term in state prison. All grand theft convictions come with the possibility of probation, restitution, work project, counseling, and substantial fines.

Also, since agriculture is such a big part of the economy of the Sacramento region, it’s important to note that California law does set a lower limit for grand theft in some instances involving agricultural products and livestock. For example, domestic fowls, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish are all classified as petty thefts up to only $250. Anything above that is considered grand theft.

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