Leading Theft and Burglary Defense Attorney in San Diego, California
At the Griffin Law Office, APC, our theft and burglary defense attorney in San Diego accurately outlines each of our client’s cases based on their unique needs to produce real results for real people who are in real trouble.
Our skilled San Diego County criminal defense lawyer, Patrick Griffin, and knowledgeable support staff provide superior legal defenses for our clients, so they can move forward with confidence and get their lives back on track.
What is the Difference Between Theft, Burglary & Robbery Charges in California?
It is common for people to use the words theft, burglary, and robbery interchangeably, but the reality is, they all mean something different — especially if you have been charged with a crime in one or more of these criminal categories.
When your very freedom is at stake, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney who is trusted to provide a clear outline of your charges and what they mean to your future.
Here is what our California clients need to know about the differences in theft, burglary, and robbery charges.
Theft is a crime that involves taking another person’s property without their permission and without the use of force.
As one of the most committed crimes in California, and throughout the nation, theft can include everything from shoplifting and petty larceny to identity theft and grand larceny.
To convict someone of a theft crime, the prosecutor must prove that keeping or using another person’s property was unauthorized and without permission. In addition, the prosecution must show that the person had an intent to take the property owner’s possession permanently.
Here is where things may become confusing.
Theft and burglary can happen at the same time, but they are two separate crimes since a burglary can occur without any property being removed from the premises.
Burglary requires a person to break and enter a structure — like a nonresidential building, office, or warehouse — or dwelling, which can include a home, apartment, or condominium, with the intent to commit a crime inside.
What is more, a person can commit a burglary even if minimal force, which could include opening an unlocked window, or pushing open a door.
Even if the individual is not successful in committing a crime while attempting to enter or once inside the structure, if the prosecutor’s office can show he or she had intent at the time the unlawful entry occurred.
Burglaries can take place without theft and can include a person breaking into a home or another structure intending to assault or harass the occupants.
Robbery charges are remarkably like theft charges, but involve the use of violence, force, or the threat of violence to take the property.
Our accomplished theft, burglary, and robbery attorney in San Diego will outline your charges, and the strategic legal actions necessary to pursue the best outcome for your unique case. Call us today to discuss the facts of your case, so together we can get ahead of your charges and start moving forward with confidence.
Our skilled San Diego criminal defense attorney represents clients in the following practice areas:
- Assault & Battery
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Crimes
- Driving Under the Influence
- Federal Crimes
- White Collar & Fraud Crimes
- Juvenile Crimes
- Professional Licensing Defense
- Sex Crimes
What are the Penalties for Theft, Burglary, and Robbery Charges in California?
Like most states, California’s theft, burglary, and robbery charges can range from shoplifting to carjacking, and the penalties for each charge in between can be a misdemeanor, wobbler — which means the District Attorney’s Office has the discretion whether to file misdemeanor or felony charges — or felony, all at various levels.
To convict someone of a theft crime, the prosecutor must prove that keeping or using another person’s property was unauthorized and without permission, and if the defendant has any prior criminal history — even one unrelated to theft — it could still influence the severity of the charges and their potential sentencing.
Theft crimes in California are most commonly classified based on the value of the property that was taken. If a person is accused of petty theft, it means he or she has stolen property valued up to $950. These types of theft are charged as misdemeanors. On the other hand, grand theft charges result when money or stolen property is valued at more than $950.
A grand theft auto charge occurs when an individual allegedly stole a vehicle worth more than $950 without the intention to return it. For the theft of a firearm, a person could face grand theft of firearm charges. Depending on the circumstances surrounding these San Diego theft crimes, grand theft could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. However, grand theft auto and grand theft of a firearm are typically charged as a felony.
Thefts charged as misdemeanors may bring prison time, fines, and probation.
These charges may result in up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Although receiving stolen property is also a misdemeanor, it could lead to a prison time twice as long — up to one year. Misdemeanor charges may sound less severe, but they can also have long-lasting consequences.
Felony charges are much more severe than misdemeanor charges and carry significant penalties. If you are convicted of a felony in the State of California, you could be facing years in jail, parole conditions, restitution fees, and heavy fines.
Fines for these crimes range from $1,000 to $10,000. In addition, if convicted, you can spend from six months in San Diego County jail to 20 years in state prison.
At the Griffin Law Firm, our dedicated criminal defense attorney takes pride in producing positive results for each of our clients, because at the end of the day — this is your life we are talking about.
Criminal defense cases require careful preparation and a deep understanding of the criminal justice system. In San Diego criminal cases, you need a defense lawyer who understands the penalties you face, the courts in which you will be tried, and the judges and prosecutors who will run the proceedings against you. This knowledge helps achieve favorable results for our clients.
We have managed over 1,000 criminal defense cases in San Diego County and have an extensive list of satisfied clients. We take cases to trial when necessary and we litigate every issue. The key to winning a criminal defense case is to leave no stone unturned and to explore every option.
That is who we are.
Contact Our San Diego Theft Crimes Lawyers Today for A Free Consultation
Contact our skilled San Diego theft, burglary, and criminal defense attorney to learn more about your legal rights, the best way to minimize your damages, and how we accomplish favorable outcomes for each of our client’s unique needs by calling 619-269-2131 to discuss the details of your case today. Do not leave your future to chance. We can help.
Frequently Asked Questions for Our Theft & Burglary Defense Attorneys in San Diego
How is the Value of the Property Determined Before Charges are Brought for a Theft Crime in California?
The value of the property is determined by its reasonable value at the time the offense was committed. This means that the value of the item will reflect the highest price the property would have cost to purchase in the area in which the theft occurred.
Our experienced criminal defense attorney in San Diego fully evaluates each of our client’s charges to ensure they reflect an accurate dollar amount, so if there was an error in its calculation, we can pursue a reduced charge.
What is the Difference Between Theft and Fraud?
Legally, fraud is a form of theft, as is embezzlement. However, the basic differences revolve around the way the property or funds were taken from the person, organization, or property. Theft generally involves taking something through force or by stealth.
Fraud involves a purposeful misrepresentation of fact.
Embezzlement usually refers to stealing from an employer or misuse of funds that are placed in one’s trust, including skimming from a cash-based business, bookkeeping schemes, or electronic transfers.
Like other theft, burglary, robbery, or fraud cases, the charges will be based on the value of the property or money taken.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain for My California Theft or Burglary Charges?
A plea bargain is an agreement in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a lesser charge or more lenient sentence.
Prosecutors throughout California offer plea agreements for many reasons, but none of them may be in your best interest. While a plea agreement removes the risk of going to trial and receiving a harsher sentence if you are not successful, only a skilled criminal defense attorney in San Diego will know when your deal is acceptable.