San Diego Theft Crimes

Theft Crimes in California can be charged under a multitude of Penal Code sections, and can be alleged as misdemeanors, felonies, and even “strike” felonies.  The simplest, and least serious type of theft in California, is petty theft – a misdemeanor that is often a divertible offense if it is the defendant’s first theft-related case.  If the value of stolen property is in excess of $950, a misdemeanor petty theft is then deemed a felony grand theft.  Examples of a petty theft include stealing food items from a convenience store, walking out on a restaurant check, taking property from the patio of house, removing retail items from a store, etc.

In California, a petty theft misdemeanor can turn into a Strike Felony fairly quickly and easily,  A petty theft misdemeanor becomes a Robbery, which is considered a strike felony, when the individual attempting to steal property is confronted by the owner of the property, and then uses force or fear to facilitate the completion of the theft.  This is known as an Estes Robbery.  A common example of an Estes robbery occurs when someone steals from a retail shop and is confronted by loss prevention as they exit the store.  If the individual stealing the property threatens, fights, brandishes a weapon, or harms the individual trying to stop their escape, California law deems the totality of their acts to be a Robbery, just like walking into a gas station with a ski mask and a gun and demanding cash.  It is the exact same violation of the California Penal Code under section 211.

The Attorneys at The Law Office of Sammer A. Zakhour have successfully defended individuals who have committed the relatively minor crime of petty theft or shoplifting, but due to the interaction that occurred between that person and a loss prevention officer, the individual now faces a strike felony, as well as State Prison.  These cases are can be extremely serious, and individuals can find themselves in the county jail with a bail of $100,000 for stealing an item worth less than $10.

Similarly, a burglary of property can be deemed a felony if that property is determined to be a “dwelling” under California Law.  Further, that felony for residential burglary (PC 459) can be deemed a “hot prowl” burglary if the residence was actually occupied at the time of burglary.  A “hot prowl” burglary is considered a violent crime, as well as  a “strike” felony, in addition to being a theft crime.

If you’ve been charged with any California theft crime, the Attorneys at The Law Office of Sammer A. Zakhour will investigate your case, collect evidence (such as surveillance, eye-witness accounts, etc.) and zealously fight the prosecution’s case in chief so that an individual does not face an unduly harsh punishment.  Additionally, if the Prosecution charges you with a misdemeanor, the Attorneys at the firm will fight hard as well.  However, if the Prosecution’s case is strong, Mr. Zakhour will fight to get a plea bargain that will ultimately result in a dismissal because they understand the negative stigma a theft crime can have on one’s future.  A theft conviction of even the most minor degree can preclude the individual convicted from ever having certain types of employment and licenses.  This is because some occupations, by their very nature, require that an individual be absolutely trustworthy around money and the property of others.  A theft conviction is a surefire way to be denied this type of employment, and can result in the dramatic disturbance of one’s plans and life.

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