Aggressive Defense for All Theft Charges

Theft crimes are serious offenses under California law. They involve the unlawful taking of property, ranging from minor infractions like shoplifting to major felonies like grand theft or burglary. The severity of the charges and penalties depends on the value of the property taken and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Convictions can lead to severe consequences, including imprisonment, substantial fines, mandatory restitution to victims, and a permanent criminal record that can impact your future employment and housing opportunities.

If you are facing theft charges, it is crucial to build your defense immediately to avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction. Hiring a skilled attorney to guide you through the legal process is essential. At The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we have been defending Los Angeles residents against various criminal charges since 2003. With over 20 years of experience, Attorney Arash Hashemi provides expert legal representation for individuals accused of theft crimes. Our firm thoroughly analyzes each case, scrutinizes the evidence, and develops a strategic defense aimed at challenging the prosecution’s claims effectively.

Early intervention by our attorney can be critical to the outcome of your case. Prompt legal action allows for the preservation of vital evidence, mitigation of potential damages, and engagement in negotiations that may prevent the escalation of charges.

If you or someone you know is facing theft charges in Los Angeles, it is essential to consult with a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Contact our office at (310) 448-1529 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. At The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we are committed to defending your rights and striving to protect your future from the impact of theft charges.





    Criminal Charges We Defend Against

    If you have been charged with any of the following theft offenses, we can help you fight against these accusations. Here are some of the most common theft charges and their specific details:

    • Petty Theft (Penal Code §§ 484 and 488): Involves taking property valued at $950 or less. Convictions can result in up to six months in county jail and fines up to $1,000.
    • Grand Theft (Penal Code § 487): Involves taking property valued over $950. Depending on the case specifics, this can be charged as a misdemeanor with up to one year in county jail, or as a felony with up to three years in state prison.
    • Burglary (Penal Code § 459): Involves entering a building with the intent to commit theft or another felony inside. First-degree burglary (residential) can result in two to six years in state prison, while second-degree burglary (commercial) can lead to up to one year in county jail or longer in state prison.
    • Robbery (Penal Code § 211): Involves taking property from someone’s person or immediate presence by force or fear. This is a felony offense that can result in two to nine years in state prison.
    • Embezzlement (Penal Code § 503): Occurs when someone entrusted with property fraudulently takes it for their own use. Penalties vary based on the value of the property and can include significant fines and imprisonment.
    • Shoplifting (Penal Code § 459.5): Defined as entering a commercial establishment with the intent to steal items valued at $950 or less. It is generally charged as a misdemeanor, with potential penalties including up to six months in county jail and fines.
    • Theft by False Pretenses (Penal Code § 532): Involves obtaining property through deceit or false representation. This can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property.
    • Theft by Trick (Penal Code § 484): Involves obtaining property through deceit or fraudulent means, similar to theft by false pretenses.
    • Receiving Stolen Property (Penal Code § 496): Involves buying or receiving property known to be stolen. This can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property.
    • Carjacking (Penal Code § 215): Involves taking a vehicle from someone’s immediate presence by force or fear. This is a felony offense that can result in up to nine years in state prison.

    Arrest Procedures for Petty Theft Charges

    In California, individuals charged with petty theft are not always subject to immediate arrest. Typically, those accused of petty theft—defined as the unlawful taking of property valued at $950 or less—receive a citation requiring a court appearance. This method aligns with the state’s policy to manage minor offenses without resorting to incarceration.

    However, this approach can vary, especially for repeat offenders. If an individual has prior petty theft charges, the likelihood of arrest increases. California law considers the defendant’s criminal history when responding to new charges, ensuring that repeat offenders receive appropriate legal attention. Being present when someone commits petty theft can lead to charges against you. Even without directly committing the theft, your involvement can result in legal responsibility. Charges can range from petty theft under Penal Code 484(a) to more serious offenses depending on your role and the case specifics. This highlights the importance of understanding the legal consequences of your actions in theft-related situations.

    Arrest Procedures for Grand Theft and Other Serious Theft Charges

    For more serious theft offenses, such as grand theft, burglary, and robbery, arrest procedures are more stringent. When the value of the stolen property exceeds $950 or involves aggravating factors like force or breaking and entering, law enforcement often makes immediate arrests. Here are the typical procedures:

    • Immediate Arrest: Suspects of grand theft (Penal Code § 487), burglary (Penal Code § 459), or robbery (Penal Code § 211) are usually arrested on the spot due to the severity of these charges.
    • Booking and Bail: After arrest, suspects are taken to the police station for booking, including fingerprinting and photographing. Bail may be set based on the case specifics and the suspect’s criminal history. Bail allows for release from custody while awaiting trial.
    • Court Appearance: Whether or not bail is posted, the accused must appear in court on the scheduled date. During this initial appearance, charges are formally presented, and the defendant enters a plea. If the accused cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be appointed.

    Consequences of Accompanying Someone Committing Grand Theft

    Accompanying someone involved in a serious theft crime, such as grand theft or burglary, can lead to severe legal consequences. California law takes a firm stance on complicity. If found to have aided or abetted in the commission of theft, you could face the same charges as the principal offender.

    • Aiding and Abetting (Penal Code § 31): Anyone assisting, encouraging, or facilitating a crime can be charged as an accomplice, facing the same charges as the person who committed the theft.
    • Conspiracy (Penal Code § 182): If you and others planned or agreed to commit theft, you could be charged with conspiracy, a serious offense with its own penalties.

    Legal Consequences of Returning Stolen Property

    Returning stolen property does not protect you from being charged with theft. Even if the stolen items are returned, the act of taking them unlawfully is still a crime. Many businesses and individuals enforce strict policies against theft and will prosecute regardless of whether the stolen property is returned. The law in California views the initial act of theft as a violation, and returning the property does not erase that crime.

    Prosecutors can still pursue charges and seek penalties for the theft. While returning the stolen property might be considered during sentencing, it does not eliminate the charges. Depending on the circumstances, returning the property might reduce some penalties but will not absolve you of legal responsibility for the theft.

    Burden of Proof in Theft Cases

    • Unlawful Taking: The prosecution must demonstrate that you unlawfully took property belonging to someone else.
    • Intent: It must be proven that you intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property or for a period long enough to significantly diminish the owner’s enjoyment of the property.
    • Property Value: For charges distinguishing between petty and grand theft, the prosecution must establish the value of the stolen property to determine the severity of the charge.

    What Is The Impact Of Prior Theft Convictions On A Petty Theft Charge In California?

    Under California Penal Code 666, known as “Petty Theft with a Prior,” the presence of prior theft-related convictions can significantly impact the penalties for a new petty theft charge. This law applies if you have previous convictions and have served time for specific theft crimes. The relevant prior convictions include:

    If you have one of these prior convictions, a new petty theft offense may not be treated as a simple misdemeanor. Instead, it could lead to more severe penalties, potentially elevating the charge to a felony level. This enhancement reflects the state’s policy of imposing stricter consequences on repeat offenders in theft-related cases.

    Legal Defense Strategies for Theft Charges

    Challenging the Evidence: We meticulously review the prosecution’s evidence to identify any inconsistencies, procedural errors, or violations of your rights. This can involve questioning the legality of the search and seizure, the accuracy of witness statements, and the handling of physical evidence.

    Proving Lack of Intent: Many theft charges require proving that you intended to permanently deprive the owner of their property. We work to demonstrate that there was no such intent, which can be essential for your defense. This could involve showing that the alleged theft was a misunderstanding or a mistake.

    Establishing Ownership or Rightful Possession: In some cases, you might have believed you had a right to the property in question. We gather and present evidence to show that you had a legitimate claim to the property, which can negate the theft charge.

    Negotiating Plea Bargains: When appropriate, we negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges or secure alternative sentencing options. This could involve entering diversion programs, where successful completion may lead to the dismissal of charges, or negotiating for reduced penalties that avoid jail time.

    Alibi and Witness Testimony: Providing a solid alibi or presenting witness testimony can refute the prosecution’s claims. If you were not present at the scene of the alleged theft or have witnesses who can support your version of events, we will leverage this evidence to strengthen your defense.

    Questioning the Value of Property: For charges that depend on the value of the stolen property, such as grand theft, we may challenge the prosecution’s valuation. If the value can be proven to be less than claimed, it could result in a reduction of the charges.

    Claim of Right: If you took the property under a genuine belief that you had a right to it, we can use the “claim of right” defense. This defense argues that you had an honest belief that you were entitled to the property, negating the intent to steal.

    Contact a Los Angeles Theft Attorney and Schedule a Consultation Today

    Theft Crime Defense LawyerAn experienced California criminal defense attorney, may be able to help you beat grand theft charges using certain common legal defenses. In a typical grand theft case, these might include asserting the position that: You did not have the intend to steal, The alleged stolen property actually belonged to you, The person who owned the item consented to you taking it, and/or, You were falsely accused.

    An attorney can help assess the consequences of your plea. Most time people plea to a charge without fully understanding how that plea will affect their future prospects for employment, schooling and/or immigration purposes.

    For more information on Theft Charges In California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by contacting us online or by calling (310) 448-1529 today. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.





      11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      Monday—Friday 8:30AM–5:00PM

      (310) 448-1529


      Disclaimer: The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is not intended to predict outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please contact our law firm directly.