Why You Need to Hire an Oakland Theft Lawyer
A theft lawyer is invaluable to your case. From protecting your rights to providing a compelling argument at trial, Seth Morris offers skilled representation few can match.
Here are some benefits of a theft lawyer.
They’ll Help You Understand and Protect Your Rights
Many people accused of theft do not understand their rights. Depending on the details of your case, you may not need to answer law enforcement questions. Further, you may have the right to the property you’re accused of taking in the first place. Your theft lawyer can help you understand your rights to protect your future.
They’ll Advocate for Reduced or Dismissed Charges
Should your entire life be affected by theft accusations? As a first-time or non-violent offense, your theft attorney may be prepared to advocate for reduced or dismissed charges or other pretrial diversions. That way, you can put this experience behind you.
They’ll Represent Your Interests at Trial
If you have prior convictions on your record or the state’s prosecutor is unwilling to enter into a plea agreement, your best chance at getting back to your life is through a powerful defense. Your theft lawyer will analyze the evidence to determine which strategy is appropriate in your case.
Common Types of Theft Charges in Oakland
There are many kinds of theft, and some are more common than others. However, Morris Law will provide skillful representation no matter what charges you face.
No matter what type of theft or theft-related charges you face, Attorney Seth Morris is here to help you figure out how to beat your charges.
Here are some common theft offenses:
According to California Penal Code § 487(d)(1), taking another party’s vehicle without their consent is a criminal offense.
Burglary, under California Penal Code § 459, is when someone enters an inhabited dwelling or any commercial structure with the intent to commit larceny.
Your robbery charges do not have to follow you for the rest of your life. Put this experience behind you by obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.
Under California Penal Code § 487(a), grand theft includes appropriating someone else’s services, money, or property valued at more than $950
Under California Penal Code § 488, petty theft is the appropriation of labor, money, or property valued at less than $950
Under California Penal Code § 459.5, shoplifting is petty theft that occurs in a store or establishment that sells goods or services
Under California Penal Code § 487(d)(1), stealing any type of motor vehicle can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony crime
Possession of a Stolen Vehicle
Under California Penal Code § 496 for receiving stolen property, you could face misdemeanor or felony theft charges
Under California Penal Code § 594c, vandalism includes damaging someone else’s property with malicious intent
Penalties for Theft Convictions in Oakland
The penalties you face vary considerably depending on the type of theft crime you have been charged with.
Here are some of the penalties you could face.
- Robbery – Up to nine years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
- Burglary – Under California Penal Code § 460, first-degree burglary is a felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and fines as high as $10,000.
- Grand theft – A misdemeanor conviction results in up to one year in county jail and fines as high as $1,000. Felony convictions carry a maximum prison term of three years and fines as high as $10,000.
- Petty theft – Up to six months in jail; fines as high as $1,000.
- Shoplifting – Up to six months in county jail; fines as high as $1,000.
- Car theft – Car theft is also a wobbler, carrying minimum and maximum penalties of one year in county jail or three years in prison, respectively. Fines can be up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor and $10,000 for a felony conviction.
- Vandalism – Misdemeanor convictions include fines up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail, while felony convictions include fines up to $10,000 and up to three years in prison.
Collateral Consequences of a Guilty Verdict
Criminal penalties are only the tip of the iceberg when facing theft charges. There are several other collateral consequences you can expect to deal with if you are convicted, including:
- Community service
- Immigration or citizenship issues
- Child custody issues
- Trouble finding a good job
- Difficulty finding affordable housing
- Court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Suspension or revocation of your professional licenses
- Court-ordered mental health counseling
- Loss of firearm rights
- Loss of federal financial aid eligibility
You might also experience troubled relationships with family and friends and be stuck dealing with a destroyed reputation due to a theft conviction. You must contact an experienced theft attorney to help defend your case for these reasons.
What Laws Impact Your Oakland, CA Theft Charges?
Two primary laws may impact your theft charges. These include California Penal Code 484 and Proposition 47.
California Penal Code 484
California Penal Code § 484 describes the elements that must be met for a theft charge to apply. These include:
- Unlawfully taking someone else’s property
- Defrauding someone through false or fraudulent pretenses
- Causing someone else to falsify your character to obtain services, property, or money
These details are critical as they explicitly demonstrate that you can face theft charges even if you did not physically steal a physical object or money from another. Misrepresentation and lies can also warrant theft charges in Oakland, CA.
Proposition 47 makes it possible for people charged with non-violent felony crimes to reduce their charges to misdemeanors. This reclassification allows you to avoid some of the more severe penalties you would have faced if your charges had remained felony-level.
Defending Against Your Theft Charges
Despite the severity of your charges, Seth Morris will investigate your case and discuss your defense strategy.
Common defenses used in misdemeanor and felony theft cases include the following:
Mistake of Ownership
You may have a reasonable belief that the property or money you took was either yours or you had a right to take it. Your theft lawyer in Oakland will present evidence to the court that proves your beliefs were reasonable.
It Was an Accident
If you had no intention of taking someone else’s property without their consent, you should not be convicted of theft charges. You might have forgotten that you had someone else’s valuable property in your car before driving away.
Mistake of Identity
Your theft lawyer might provide compelling evidence that shows your identity has been mistaken for the person responsible for committing the theft in question. This evidence might include witness statements and your alibi.
False Theft Accusations
When the person who accused you of theft has ulterior motives, whether it be child custody issues, revenge, or any other motive to lie, you may be able to prove the theft allegations against you are false.
Theft by Necessity
Theft by necessity shouldn’t warrant a conviction if you took someone’s property when you were at risk for severe harm or needed to prevent such harm.
To prove entrapment, your lawyer must show that law enforcement coerced you to commit a crime that overcame your own will. This can be a tough defense to prove. Your attorney will only recommend this defense if the evidence in your case is strong enough to support your version of events.