Taking possession of the property of another person without their permission is taken very seriously in Napa Valley in the surrounding areas, so if you or someone you know has been charged with theft or robbery, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced legal professional.
Only a Napa Valley theft and robbery attorney will have the in-depth knowledge of this area of the law to help your case. He or she will be able to explain to you what you’re going to face, guide you through all of the legal mumbo jumbo, and design a defense to help you receive the best possible outcome.
How Theft and Robbery Are Legally Defined in Napa Valley
The answers to those questions may seem obvious, but where the law is concerned, it’s always best to be as exact as possible.
What exactly is theft? Under the law as it is written, theft can constitute situations where someone takes the property of another with no intent of ever returning it, where something is taken without the consent of the owner, where someone takes possession of property owned by another, and where a person moved someone else’s property and held onto it for any period of time.
What does all of that mean? Well, that it’s possible you might have “stolen” something and not even realized it, for one. How often have you borrowed a CD, DVD, or game only to realize months or even years later that you still had it? Using these definitions, it’s possible that you could actually be charged with a crime!
But obviously that isn’t the only kind of scenario that involves theft, and others are far more clear cut. In some cases, it can involve tricking the owner out of their property. Others can include extortion or use fear in order to get the owner to give up their property.
What exactly is robbery? Robbery is far more straightforward than theft, although there is still a bit of subjective interpretation involved. Simply put, someone can be charged with robbery if they physically steal property from another present person by using force or fear. Most of us are probably familiar with the idea of someone robbing a convenient store with a gun (armed robbery), but simply threatening another person – or making them feel threatened – can be enough to justify a robbery charge.
Different kinds of Napa Valley theft and robbery. Armed robbery was already mentioned as a specific subset of robbery, but it’s not the only one out there. Forcing or scaring someone into giving you their car is called carjacking. Petty theft is stealing property that totals less than $950.
Penalties Associated with Napa Valley Theft and Robbery
The penalties that you will face depend both on the severity of your current crime and any past crimes of which you have been found guilty. Those with criminal histories will find themselves up against harsher penalties and may even have to worry about California’s Three Strikes Law.
Petty theft. If you are a first time offender, this will be a misdemeanor charge and you will be facing:
Most first time offenders shouldn’t have any trouble avoiding jail, but it becomes more complicated if you are a repeat offender. Your second petty theft offense can be charged as a felony and include more serious punishments. Petty theft with three priors is an automatic felony that can include up to three years in state prison.
Grand theft. Stealing anything valued over $950 is considered grand theft, and this crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on your criminal record and the severity of the crime. If you are charged with felony grand theft as a first timer, you will face up to a year in county jail or 16 months in state prison.
Robbery. Even the first time you’re accused of it, robbery is a felony in Napa Valley and other parts of California. People up against robbery charges will find themselves facing 2 to 9 years in state prison. Even worse, robbery counts for California’s Three Strikes Law.
Fight Napa Valley Theft and Robbery Charges
Just because you’ve been charged does not mean that you are convicted. A good Napa Valley theft and robbery lawyer who understands the specifics involved with these laws and how the local system works can fight to make sure you receive the best possible outcome. Many people have had their charges reduced or even dropped altogether because of good legal work, but even the best attorneys need time to put together a defense.
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