Theft Crimes

Theft crimes obviously cover a vast range of activity from simple shoplifting in a store to embezzlement from an employer to tax fraud to welfare fraud. Robbery, grand theft and residential burglary are other types of serious theft crimes. California Voter Proposition 47 created additional Penal Code section 459.5 which reduced commercial burglary to a misdemeanor when the intent to enter a commercial establishment during regular business hours is to take something less than $950 in value. Also, any act of shoplifting of goods under $950 must be charged as misdemeanor shoplifting. Penal Code section 490.2 was also added to expressly define petty misdemeanor theft as the taking of any property with less than $950 in value. The misdemeanor threshold value amounts for forgery, insufficient funds and receiving stolen property were also increased to $950.

In the cases of the more complicated theft crimes like tax fraud or embezzlement it is important to have an attorney who has the necessary trial experience to establish the true intent of the accused, through rigorous cross-examination after a thorough investigation. Often, contacts between government officials and the accused reveal ambiguities that can be exploited to gain better results. In the case of embezzlement a thorough investigation into the ongoing relationship between the employer and the accused may similarly reveal unclear intent behind purported criminal action that a jury may view sympathetically.

Benjamin I. Schiff
Criminal Defense Attorney

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