Lindsay Lohan was charged with a Los Angeles Grand Theft charge in January 2011. Grand Theft in California is charged under California Penal Code §487 and is filed a felony. It will be a grand theft charge anytime the item, or property stolen is valued over $950.
The penalty as established by legislation for a grant theft conviction may or may not include jail time, a fine and/or community service. Generally probation is a part of the sentence. The range for a potential sentence will differ for each person that is charged, based on their criminal history and the specific facts surrounding their case.
The good thing is that in California a grand theft charge is a “wobbler”. A “wobbler” is a charge that can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether it is filed as a felony or misdemeanor will depend on the facts of the case and the background of the person being charged. The government will look to see if a person has any enhancements that will favor a felony charge over a misdemeanor. Enhancements are factors that may warrant prosecution to propose a higher penalty. These factors include multiple similar charges in the person’s criminal history, or the value of the time stolen is extremely high (65,000 or higher). If a person is a habitual offender, or is on probation at the time of the charge, chances are the government will want to take it seriously and file it as a felony.