Articles Posted in Theft Offenses

When a person has been charged with Petty Theft under the California Penal Code §484, it is highly recommended that they seek the advice and guidance of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. The reason it is highly advisable is that in the beginning stages there is a good probability that the case may be dismissed or never filed to begin with.

An attorney knows the legal system and the courts. Through their experience and connections they are able to speak to the Prosecutor before the case gets filed. The Attorney will also speak to any injured parties to see if a Civil Compromise may be reached.

A civil compromise is an agreement between the person who has caused the injury or damage and the person who suffered the damage. The purpose of the agreement is to make restitution. If a civil compromise is reached, then an attorney can present that to the Prosecutor, arguing that all damage have been rectified, and the charges should be dropped.

In many criminal cases, the person being charged has not been formally arrested and taken into custody. Oftentimes a Los Angeles police officer is not even the one that observes the law being violated; it is a private security guard or someone similar.

If there is an altercation, or an incident that involves unlawful behavior, many times a police officer is not on site. In those situations, a private security guard or officer is authorized to stop the person committing the alleged crime and question them. Based on the statements of the security guard, officers who then arrive on the scene may cite the person asking them to appear in court, and never have them formally arrested.

Let’s consider an example. David is accused of shoplifting at Macy’s by private security guards working at the department store. They alleged that David stole several items of clothing and detain him for questioning. The officers base their accusations on surveillance tapes and experience with behavior of someone who has taken items in the past. Los Angeles police officers arrive at the scene and listen to the statements made by Macy’s private security. Based on these statements, they write up a report and cite David with a Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear gives him the date and time to appear before a Criminal Judge in Los Angeles County. The police officers do not take David into custody, and they do not take him to the police station for formal booking procedures. This is referred to as a Cite In case, because there was no formal arrest.

Attorneys are held to a high standard of ethics by the California State Bar. There are many rules in effect that are designed to protect a person and their legal rights. There are also guidelines an attorney must follow so that they provide the most diligent, competent and effective legal help available.

Accordingly, the client has many rights when it comes to choosing and retaining an attorney. You have the right to not be hassled when choosing an attorney, and attorneys may not actively solicit your business in a courtroom, hospital, or even the scene of an arrest.

Similarly, if you have retained an attorney, you have the right to terminate the attorney client relationship whenever you feel it is necessary. An attorney, however, cannot terminate you as a client without good reason and permission from the Judge.

There is an extensive portion of the California Penal Code dedicated to theft offenses. There are many different types of theft cases, and leaves room for many different charges under the code. One of the elements required for a person to be convicted of a theft charge is that there must be specific intent. Specific intent means that the person charged with San Diego theft, must have the intent to deprive a person of their property permanently. If this intent is not there, then the person may have a strong defense to the theft violation.

For example, Dan is studying at the library. He notices that someone’s laptop is unattended and sitting on a desk. He picks up the laptop, puts it in his bag and walks away. Later at home, he deletes the files and programs on the laptop and puts on his own. He puts in his own passwords and information. In this situation, the evidence indicates that Dan had every intent to take the laptop and not return it. By deleting all the programs and installing his own, there is strong support that Dan would not be returning the laptop to the owner. If Dan used the specific intent defense in court, it would likely be denied.

In comparison, David is studying at the library. He notices that someone has left their laptop unattended on the desk. David is doing some work and needs to look up something for him to be able to continue with his studying. He walks over to the laptop and looks up something using the internet browser. He does not move the laptop and after looking up what he wants, he leaves the laptop as it was and closes what he was looking at only. Additionally, he leaves a note on the desk telling the owner that he used the laptop just to look up something briefly and apologizes for the inconvenience and thanks them for allowing him to use their laptop.

In May 2011, actress Lindsay Lohan was charged and convicted of shoplifting. The Judge sentenced her to 480 hours of community service , to be completed by April 2012.

Lohan was scheduled to complete her hours by providing service to the Los Angeles Downtown Woman’s shelter. However, the Downtown shelter has recently terminated their agreement with Lohan because she has failed to appear for several shifts and on days that she appeared, only completed a minimal amount of hours. According to Los Angeles District Attorney, Jane Robison, her hours will be transferred from the Woman’s shelter to the Red Cross. In addition, Lohan also has 120 hours of janitorial work that she is signed up for at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

To date, the young actress has only completed 21 of the 480 required hours. In addition to not completing required community service hours, Lohan has also not been attending court mandated counseling sessions. Lohan defends that she has missed community service hours and counseling sessions because she has been out of the country possibly filming a movie.

An embezzlement charge is a form of theft in California. Under California Penal Code §503 it is unlawful for a person to misappropriate property entrusted to them due to their position. It is taken more seriously by courts than that of theft because the person who is stealing is someone who has been entrusted with the property.

For example, let’s say a bank teller has been collecting deposits from customers and putting half into her own account. She will be charged, and most likely convicted, of embezzlement.

Due to the fact that embezzlement is a form of theft, a person who is charged and convicted of embezzlement will be sentenced within a range provided by the theft statute under the California Penal Code. PC §§487 and 488 establish a range for potential penalties that may be imposed if a person is convicted of the charge.

California Penal Code §503 makes it unlawful for a person to fraudulently appropriate property of another person’s that has been entrusted to you. This charge is often also referred to as employee theft of fraud. To put it more simply, it is when a person uses their position of trust to steal from those who have entrusted them.

Embezzlement can be extended to money, or personal property, as long as it has been misappropriated by a person who is being trusted with it.

An example of an embezzlement case would be a typical bank teller scenario. A bank tells is entrusted by others to handle their money and protect it. If the bank teller is stealing money and directing it into their own account, they will be charged with embezzlement. Embezzlement is a more serious form of theft because it is being abused by someone who is trusted with the person’s property.

It is a common assumption that there are only a few types of criminal theft cases under the California Penal Code. However, that is not the case. The California Penal Code describes a plethora of actions that could be classified and charged as theft, including fraud cases. One such fraud case, is when a person obtains money through false pretenses.

For example, a recent client of ours misrepresented to people at her college campus that she had an illness and needed funds for medical treatment. In reality, she was healthy but needed to money to pay her tuition bills. She gathered about $3,000 from 20 people.

Her acts constitute a violation of the California Penal Code and would be filed as a felony due to her conduct as well as the increased amount of money she obtained through false pretenses. If someone is convicted of a felony theft case, they will be looking at increased fines as well as some potential jail time.

Many people do not realize that fraud is classified as Los Angeles theft under the California criminal code. There are many different ways a person commits fraud, one being obtaining money through false pretenses. What many people don’t realize is that their actions give rise to fraud, resulting in a theft charge.

For example, we had a recent case in which a girl was working in the financial aid office of her college. She had the responsibility of receiving tuition payments from students and directing them towards their account. However, she was allocating them into her own and paying her tuition. This is a form of theft, since she was not given the money for her own expenses, and she was falsely diverting the funds for purposes that they were not intended for.

Many more common incidents of fraud are scams in which people gather money for a charity that does not exist, or money is not donated to the charity. If someone went door to door asking people to donate to the Cancer Association, but used the money for their own expenses, the actions would amount to fraud.

This week Lindsay Lohan pleaded no contest to her Theft Case pending before the Criminal Judge in Los Angeles. The judge has already sentenced Lohan to 120 days in jail regarding her probation violation. She will likely serve about two weeks for the petty theft charge and probation officials may allow her to serve the time at home wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet.

A no contest plea, Nolo Contendere in Latin, essentially means “I do not wish to contend” the charges. It states that the defendant does not plead guilty to the charge, but doesn’t wish to dispute it either. It carries with it the same consequences as a guilty plea, but the charge may not later be used against the defendant in any civil proceedings. With a no contest plea, the person charged is subject to any and all penalties that may come with a guilty plea, including fines, jail time, and probation.

The option of pleading No Contest is available to all defendants. Many times it comes as part of a plea bargain. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can discuss the facts of your case and your concerns to help determine whether no contest is a plea you should consider.