Theft Lawyer

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Due to the significant, potentially life-altering ramifications associated with theft criminal charges, it is imperative to retain the services of a reputable and effective theft lawyer in California. You should retain counsel as soon as you are either investigated or charged with an offense. Having an effective and skilled theft defense attorney can make the difference between possible harsh consequences of a theft crime or having the case dismissed or plea bargained.

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What is a Theft Charge in California?

Under California law, theft crimes are categorized as criminal acts involving allegedly taking another person’s property or money without their consent or permission. Theft crimes in California can be either charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The legal penalties associated with theft crimes typically depend on the specific items or funds that were stolen, the value of those items or funds, and your criminal history (if any).

Let’s take a look at some common theft crimes in the California Penal Code.


Common Theft Crimes

Petty Theft

In California, petty theft is defined as the taking of another person’s property or money valued at $950 or less. Generally, petty theft is a misdemeanor offense. This means that, if convicted, you could be ordered to serve up to six months in jail, pay large court fines, pay the victim for restitution, community service, counseling, probation, and so forth.

Grand Theft

Grand theft is defined as the taking of another person’s property or money that is valued at $950 or more. Grand theft, in contrast to petty theft, is a felony offense. In California, if you are convicted of a felony offense, you could be ordered to serve time in prison, pay large court fines, pay restitution to both the victim and law enforcement, serve probation or parole, and so forth.


In California, shoplifting is defined as the unlawful appropriation of money, property, or labor worth $950 or less. In simpler terms, shoplifting occurs when an individual takes items for sale from a store without paying. Shoplifting is generally considered to be a misdemeanor offense.

Auto Theft

Auto theft generally involves the alleged stealing of any type of automobile. Auto theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the type and value of the vehicle. For example, pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 10851, if you are charged with allegedly stealing an ambulance, marked fire department vehicle, or a disabled veteran’s modified vehicle, you could be charged with a felony offense. punishable by up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Another auto theft offense in California is “joyriding,” which is defined as taking another person’s vehicle without permission, but without the intent to permanently steal the motor vehicle. Generally, joyriding is considered a misdemeanor offense.


Under California law, burglary is defined as entering a structure or certain vehicles without permission, or remaining in a structure without consent, with the intent to commit theft or other felony offense. Structures where burglary can occur include the following:

  • Aircrafts
  • Apartments
  • Campers
  • Cargo containers
  • Homes
  • Railroad cars
  • Stores
  • Tents
  • Vessels
  • Warehouses

Identity Theft

Identity theft is defined as unlawfully and intentionally acquiring and retaining possession of another individual’s personally identifiable information. Identity theft is generally considered to be a felony offense. If convicted of identity theft in California, you could be ordered to serve up to three years in a state prison, pay restitution to the victim, pay substantial court costs and fines, serve parole or probation, and so forth.


In California, embezzlement is defined as the unlawful theft or taking of something that has been entrusted to you that belongs to another individual. This type of crime is considered a white-collar crime since it typically occurs in the employment context within a corporate entity or other organization. Embezzlement can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the amount of the item(s) or funds that were allegedly embezzled. If the value is $950 or greater, then it could be charged as felony grand theft. If the value is below $950, then it could be charged as misdemeanor petty theft.


Under California law, fraud offenses are a category of theft crimes where the act of theft is carried out by trickery, artifice, or other devices. Examples of fraud offenses include:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Forgery
  • Public assistance fraud

Understanding the Effect of a Theft Charge On Your Record

Being charged with theft can significantly impact your professional and personal life. For example, a theft charge can adversely impact your reputation, your current job and any future employment prospects. If convicted, you could be incarcerated, and can hinder your ability to rent a residence or obtain a loan.

How a Theft Lawyer Can Help You

Facing criminal charges can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, especially for someone who has never been charged with a crime. Nevertheless, do not give up hope or raise the white flag of defeat. It is important to remember that you have legal rights and protections and are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This is where a knowledgeable theft lawyer in California can be of service to you

Here are just some of the ways a theft lawyer can help:

Your California theft defense attorney will advocate on your behalf with the goal of protecting your rights and advancing your best interests.

Your California theft lawyer will utilize their expertise in handling similar cases and navigating the complexities of the California criminal justice system.

Your theft defense attorney in California will work to protect you against harsh punishments and penalties.

Hire a Theft Lawyer Today

If you are charged with a theft offense in Marin County or elsewhere in California, retaining the services of a knowledgeable and experienced theft lawyer is critically important. Your theft defense attorney should understand how to effectively navigate the court system in Marin County and other jurisdictions in California. Contact the Law Offices of Kevin Heaney today and put Kevin’s decades of criminal defense experience to work for you.


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Here’s what clients had to say about Kevin Heaney’s work
Kevin did an amazing job. He turned a nightmare into a really manageable situation. Without going into detail, I was facing some complications due to my record that would have made for a lengthy and grand problem. He was able to get it mitigated and really came away amazing, compared to where we started. Worth every penny and more. I feel that the work he did was more than commensurate for what he charged me. I will use him in the future and I would recommend him to family and friends.
Amazing honest and efficient lawyer! Kevin knows the ins and outs of the criminal system. He is the definitely the guy to have on your side. I won’t go into the details of the case, but my brother got involve in a domestic violent situation and we needed a good Marin lawyer that wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg to take his case. I was referred to Kevin by a friend of mine. I noticed on the initial phone consultation that he really wanted to help. We were able to work out a very reasonable price for the handling of the case, so we hired him. Kevin worked hard since day one, and he got my bro a very good deal with the DA. Our family is thankful to have hired him.
I contacted Kevin when I needed legal representation in a case which I felt required a high level of client service and representation. He was always right there for me when I needed him, whether it was showing up early for hearings, to the individualized attention I received at the courthouse, and having private meetings in his office anytime, as often as needed without any rescheduling. Kevin approached my case with care and made me feel comfortable as he took the time to thoroughly review my case history, explain my options to me, and was readily available and responsive when I had questions or just needed to talk to him. He treated my case with genuine care and attention it deserved and my case results certainly reflected his strong personal and professional attributes. I wouldn’t hesitate to contact Kevin again if the need arises.
I received the best possible outcome by giving my case to Kevin Heaney. He fought for me the entire way until he got my case dismissed! I have never come across a lawyer that cares so much about his clients or what happens to them. His rates are very affordable and he is open to negotiate the numbers. It is clear that he wants to help. Kevin knows his stuff and he is on top of it. He is also very personable, kept me in the loop of things throughout the process and always returned my calls and emails. I am grateful and lucky to have found Kevin. He is a true professional and knows how to get it done.
I wanted to thank you for the excellent job you did on getting Luis Correa’s case dismissed. You were very efficient and with minimal stress to Mr Correa. He had full confidence in you and you made it very easy for him to put this case in your hands. The fact that he only had to meet with you a few times and only able to provide you with minimal information he had on his case was a blessing that you were able to get the case dismissed! You know your stuff! Thank you once again and Mr Correa is very pleased with the outcome and can get on with his life without this case over him.

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