Grand Theft

Practice Areas

In California, theft is defined as the illegal taking of another person’s property without that person’s consent. Grand theft occurs when the value of the item taken is over $950.

Grand Theft

California Penal Code 487(a) makes it a crime to steal money, labor, personal or real property belonging to another person valued at $950 or more. Grand theft could be charged when actual money is taken from someone or stolen from someone or stolen from a store in the form of Shoplifting. In some instances we have been able to reduce a robbery charge, which is a strike under California law, to grand theft which is a non-strike.

Grand Theft Person

California Penal Code 487(c) defines grand theft of a person as taking items $950 or more in value from the person of another, when no force, threat of force, or violence is used.

“Grand Theft Person” is distinguished from “Robbery” filed under California Penal Code 211 in which the defendant is accused of using “force or violence” to take the property of another person. Also, unlike a grand theft person charge, to be convicted of robbery, the dollar value of the item taken from the victim is irrelevant. Grand Theft Person could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. It is not a serious or violent felony and not a strike. Whereas robbery is a serious and violent felony, and a strike under California three strike laws.

Grand Theft and Grand Theft Person are wobblers and may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony at the discretion of the prosecutor and based on supporting facts, evidence, aggravating circumstances, and defendant’s criminal history.

Grand Theft Auto

California Penal Code 487(d)(1) makes it a theft crime to take another person’s vehicle without his permission. This is commonly referred to as GTA or grand theft auto. If the vehicle is first taken with the owner’s consent and then the borrower refuses to return the vehicle within the prescribed period, the owner of the vehicle could report the vehicle stolen. The police will then send out an alert to look for the “stolen vehicle”. This usually occurs in rent-a-car situations when the renter refuses to return the vehicle upon expiration of the contract. GTA carries a sentencing range of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison. It could also be charged as a misdemeanor, in which case the maximum sentence would be 1 year in county jail. The prosecution has the discretion to grant probtion whether GTA is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.


Sometimes, instead of charging the defendant with GTA, prosecutors choose to file a joyriding charge under California Penal Code 10851. This usually occurs when the defendnat did not keep the vehicle for too long. Joyriding could be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. If filed as a felony, it carries a maximum term of 3 years in state prison.

Theft may have different shapes and forms depending on what is stolen and in what fashion it is stolen, whether force or violence is used, and the value of the items taken. Burglary, for instance, is a form of theft, whereby one enters a home to steal. Robbery is another form of theft where force or violence is used to steal. Shoplifting is the simplest form of theft where one steals something without the owner knowing. Theft and larceny are synonymous.

We are Grand Theft Criminal Attorneys in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Van Nuys, Glendale, and all courts is Los Angels County.

Defenses to Theft

1. Mistake of fact

2. consent

3. Insufficient Evidence

4. Lack of Intent

Note that ignorance of the law is not a defense.

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Criminal prosecution can affect your health, freedom, employment, and social life. You need help and you need the best criminal defense you can get. At the Law Offices of Tony M. Seyfi, with the state of the art computerized legal research tools and forensic techniques, we will focus on identifying the defenses you may have and will develop numerous challenges to any crime possible.

Our goal is victory for our clients and to keep them from going to jail, and we are confident of our defense strategies. If you would like to discuss your case, call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION and case analysis.

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