Most states, including California, make a distinction between grand and petty theft. While both crimes can carry stiff fines and even jail terms, grand theft is usually the harsher of the two. In some cases, grand theft also carries a felony charge.
Understanding the current laws is crucial when charged with theft. The following are the possible charges and penalties a person can face.
What constitutes grand theft under the law?
California Legislative Information explains the laws regarding grand theft in the state. The taking of money, property, or labor without permission in excess of $950 is grand theft. As for labor theft, an employee or contracted worker must steal $950 over the course of a 12-month period.
There are other situations that fall into this category. When it comes to the theft of livestock or farm crops, including certain fruits and vegetables and domestic fowls, the grand theft value is in excess of $250. The same value applies when theft involves “aqua cultural” goods such as fish and crustaceans from a commercial or research entity.
Taking a vehicle or firearm from another person without permission immediately results in a charge of grand theft, regardless of monetary value.
What are the possible penalties for grand theft?
Incarceration and fines are possible punishments for grand theft, but the details depend on a few factors. For example, punishments increase when the crime involves theft of a firearm. A person’s previous criminal record can also affect sentencing.
In general, jail times can last a few months up to a year, or span years for more serious offenses. Terms occur either in county jails or state facilities depending on the nature of the crime, the length of the term, and other factors.