There is a host of theft-related charges that an individual can face ranging on the severity of the crime. Theft crimes are put into two different groups in the state of California, either a petty theft or grand theft. Petty theft applies to a the theft of $950 or less while theft greater than that number in stolen property is considered grand theft. The conviction of either crime can bring severe penalties as well as long-lasting consequences.



Theft is defined as unlawfully taking the property of another in the California Penal Code 484 and 488. Petty theft, as a lesser crime and misdemeanor, is punishable for up to 6 months in county jail of fines of up to $1,000. Grand theft, however, can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony (called a “wobbler”. When charged as a misdemeanor, grand theft can lead to as much as one year in county jail, whereas 16 months to 3 years in state prison when tried as a felony.

Additional penalties may apply based on how large the amount of stolen property:

  • if exceeding $65,000, 1 year will be added to your sentence
  • if exceeding $200,000, 2 years will be added to your sentence
  • if exceeding $1,300,000, 3 years will be added to your sentence
  • if exceeding $3,200,000, 4 years will be added to your sentence


  • Burglary: burglary is characterized as entering a structure or building with intent of committing a crime under California law § 459. The accused must intend to steal property before entering in order to be considered burglary. As an example, if you enter the Macy’s department store and decide to take an piece of jewelry or article of clothing, it could be considered petty theft because you did not originally enter with intent of stealing. The prosecutor must prove your intent was apparent without a reasonable doubt, making it more difficult to prove the defendant’s guilt.
  • Robbery: Robbery is considered different than burglary as it involves the use of physical violence or threats to attempt to steal or take property from another individual. In contrast, burglary does not require proof of harm or violence. In addition, armed robbery charges pertain to cases where the accused was in possession of a firearm during the commissioning of a crime. If the firearm was also discharged during the crime, the defendant could have as much as 20 years added to their sentence.





If found guilty of a theft-related crime, you could face extended prison or jail time, hefty fines, probation, mandated community service, house arrest as well as be held responsible for re-compensation of stolen property to the victim. It is possible that you could avoid these penalties with the quality assistance of Ryan Okabe and Mark Haushalter. With the unmatched legal defense they provide, you will be able to fight even the toughest criminal charges vigorously to achieve reduced penalties or dropped charges. Both lead attorneys at our firm have been nominated and selected to be included in Super Lawyers® magazine as Rising Stars in California for several consecutive years. It should be noted that a mere 2.5% of all attorneys in the state received this privilege and honor. With Okabe & Haushalter on your side, you can be assured that your future lies in capable and safe hands.



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