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Too many people believe that theft is not a serious crime - after all, theft does not involve causing physical harm to others, so the penalties should not be severe. However, like all criminal charges, you should always take theft charges extremely seriously. Authorities in California aggressively pursue convictions for anyone suspected of theft, and the law provides for potentially harsh penalties for convicted offenders. This is especially true if you face charges for grand theft or grand theft auto, both of which could land you in prison for years.
Both grand theft and grand theft auto convictions can have lasting effects on your life. Fortunately, with the right legal representation, you can have your charges dismissed or get a reduced charge or sentence. At The Law Offices of David S. Chesley, our team of highly skilled theft defense lawyers aims for the best outcome based on the circumstances of every case. We have many defense tools and strategies to protect your rights, defend against your charges, and reduce the consequences you face as much as possible. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, please call 800-755-5174 or contact us online without hesitation.
Under California law, “theft” involves the taking of another person’s property without authority. Many acts fall into the theft category, including stealing, shoplifting, embezzlement, and fraud. The law allows penalties for theft that include probation, restitution, fines, and even jail time.
California Penal Code 487 provides certain circumstances under which regular theft charges can be escalated to charges of “grand theft.” Some of those circumstances include:
As you can see, the theft of an automobile is considered to be grand theft under the law, and many people refer to this as “grand theft auto.” While this is not its own criminal offense, it is one of the most common forms of grand theft.
Stealing an automobile - for even a short period of time - is also against California law under Vehicle Code 10851. This law specifically focuses on the theft of a vehicle and applies to the following situation:
Note that it does not matter whether or not you intended to permanently steal a car. You can be charged under Vehicle Code 10851 even if you only took the car to drive it for a short time and then intended to return it, which is often called “joyriding.” Driving a car without consent for any period of time is a crime under the vehicle code. If prosecutors believe you intended to keep the car for a longer period of time or permanently, you may also face charges of grand theft auto under Penal Code 487.
Whether you face charges of grand theft or grand theft auto under the Penal Code, Vehicle Code, or both, you need the right defense representation on your case as soon as possible. Your very first call should be to a skilled grand theft defense attorney at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
In many cases, grand theft charges will be associated with or accompanied by other criminal charges. There are several offenses related to grand theft, which may include:
Grand theft is a charge known as a “wobbler” in California, which means a prosecutor has the discretion to charge grand theft as a misdemeanor or felony in many cases. Prosecutors often base this decision on the value of property stolen, the extent of the theft scheme, and whether you have any prior convictions. There are some cases in which grand theft must be a felony, including the theft of firearms or of emergency vehicles such as police cars or ambulances.
In any case, charges can expose you to serious and lasting consequences. Here are some of the potential consequences associated with a grand theft charge:
Penalties can be enhanced if the value of the property stolen was over a certain amount. This means you may receive addition prison time in the event that the property you allegedly stole was particularly valuable.
The sentence enhancements are as follows:
It is important to understand that you can be accused of multiple counts of grand theft so long as he incidents of theft were not part of the same common plan or scheme. So, for example, if you misappropriated property from your employer on 5 separate occasions, the prosecutor may try and bring five separate counts of grand theft against you. An experienced attorney may be able to argue that they there were all part of the same embezzlement scheme, however, reducing the grand theft counts you are facing to just one.
It is important to know that our attorneys regularly engage in skilled plea bargaining to obtain a reduction of a client’s charges. This can mean reducing a felony to a misdemeanor or a Three Strikes offense to a non-strike offense. This can also result in a lesser sentence and may prevent a conviction on your record.
When you are facing grand theft or grand theft auto, you should not wait to consult with The Law Offices of David S. Chesley. We regularly defend against this type of charge and obtain reduced charges or dismissals for our clients. Call today at 800-755-5174 or contact us online to discuss your case for free.
The Penal Code in California defines the severity of an offense and punishments by the value of the object or property stolen, and in the manner, it is stolen from the owner of the property.
California’s penal code 211 defines robbery as the act of felonious taking of property or something of value from the possession of another person by force or fear.
The penal code 484 in California’s law defines petty theft as stealing, taking, carrying, or embezzling property or money of another person that is capped at $950.
California’s Health & Safety Code has many sections that deal with the various offenses related to Marijuana.
In California, Fraud or Larceny is a criminal act resulting in criminal charges against the person committing the offense.
Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.