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Refuting larceny charges

FindLaw summarizes theft laws in California by first defining theft - a crime against property - and then emphasizing burden of proof. Prosecutors, they say, "must establish the defendant's intent to permanently take or withhold the property owner's possession or right to the property." At Leupp & Woodall, we understand the ins and outs of defending against larceny charges and often assist clients who face them. 

Larceny, another legal term for stealing, generally falls in two categories: petty or grand. The courts label thievery of possessions worth less than $950 as "petty" crimes and heists of valuables worth more than $950 as "grand." As simple as the label sounds, it is actually a determining factor when judges impose penalties. Knowing how the law views your incident will help you mentally prepare for what follows.

Punishment for both petty and grand theft offenses can include fines, prison sentences, or both. The amount of each varies depending on previous convictions (or lack thereof) and the seriousness of the charges at hand. Again, knowing these facts can assist you as you consider how a guilty verdict may impact your life.

To refute the accusations, an attorney may submit any number of defenses on your behalf. He or she would primarily intend to argue against the intent prosecutors present. Your defense may include arguments of consent, suggesting the owner agreed to allow you to take the property under certain conditions. Another approach is to claim you have rights of ownership for the item in question. Additionally, you may present a case of entrapment by demonstrating the owner lured you into believing you had some rights of possession. 

California law stringently defines larceny and the penalties associated with related charges. For more information on theft and property crimes, visit our webpage.

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