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Theft Charges

Theft Crime Attorney in Atascadero, California

A person who is accused of intentionally and unlawfully taking another’s property may face theft charges. Our Atascadero theft crime lawyer represents arrestees and suspects facing allegations of any theft crime, including shoplifting, petty theft, grand theft, robbery, carjacking, receiving stolen property, identity theft, fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.

We believe that “When You’ve Been Wronged, We Make it Right, by Fighting for Your Rights.” Thus, we prepare to provide more effective defense representation, even in the face of seemingly hopeless theft charges. Our credible Atascadero criminal defense lawyers at 805 Law Group will find a real solution that works for you.

Criminal Defense For Theft Charges In San Luis Obispo & Atascadero, CA

Atascadero theft crime lawyerDifferent crimes fall under the general category of “theft.” These may be violent or non-violent and may involve money, property, or other valuable items or services. 

Theft may be committed by fraud or deception, by violence, or in a completely clandestine matter without the victim’s knowledge. Depending on the type of theft and the value of the property involved, one may face misdemeanor or felony charges for such an offense.

Representing clients across Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, and the surrounding communities, we at the 805 Law Group take theft charges very seriously. Even a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction can have a considerable impact on one’s life well into the future. 

The goal of our skilled Atascadero theft crime lawyer is to protect our client’s rights to the fullest extent, offering them the best opportunity at avoiding maximum penalties or a conviction in the first place.

For more information on theft charges, call our criminal defense law firm and schedule an initial consultation.

What are the Different Types of Theft?

Theft is a criminal act defined as taking the personal property or money of another without their permission and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. Theft-related offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude which are crimes that involve conduct that is generally considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals.

If you have been arrested and charged with a theft crime, you need a reliable Atascadero theft crime lawyer to help you know exactly what this charge means.

The two primary classifications of the theft crimes are as follows:

Petty Theft

This criminal act involves the theft of property valued at less than $950. Typically, petty theft cases are shoplifting cases involving the taking of inventory from department stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, or drug stores.

This offense is a misdemeanor and may be punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of $1,000. If the value of the property involved is less than $50, petty theft may be charged as an infraction. If you have a prior conviction, you can be charged with petty theft with a prior, which can become a felony.

Grand Theft

Laws in many states consider a criminal act to be grand theft when the stolen property has a value of $950 or more. The property is taken directly from a person but by any means other than force or fear. There are various forms of grand theft charges, including grand theft by embezzlement, by trick, false pretenses, and grand theft of automobile and firearm. This is a felony offense in California, punishable by imprisonment in state prison for 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.

What Are the Penalties for a Theft Conviction?

If you have committed a theft crime, you can expect to face rigorous criminal prosecution. Prosecutors will do whatever is necessary to ensure you are found guilty of the charges. They hold people who commit theft crimes accountable for their actions. Common penalties for theft crimes can include:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Community Service
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Restraining Orders

The penalties and sentences for theft can range from the minor to the severe, with several factors to consider. States vary considerably when it comes to theft penalties. In most states, theft or larceny can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the type and value of the stolen property. A knowledgeable Atascadero theft crime lawyer can help you avoid harsh penalties and reduce the consequences of criminal charges.

What are the Defenses Against Theft?

Being accused of theft does not automatically mean that you will be convicted of the crime. Even if the underlying facts support the claim that the defendant has taken property from another party without permission, several possible legal defenses may apply in theft cases. One or more of these defenses may apply in your case and may help you avoid significant jail time, fines, and other consequences of a criminal conviction. If you have been charged with theft, our competent Atascadero theft crime attorneys will fully investigate your case, build an effective defense strategy, and obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

The Claim of Right or Ownership of Property

To be guilty of theft or larceny, a person must intend to steal. In this case, one of the most effective defense strategies is to convince the jury that the defendant has taken the property because he or she has a claim of right to it. If the defendant believes that he or she has a right to the property even if that belief is mistaken or unreasonable, such belief is a defense against theft. Furthermore, a defendant cannot be charged with theft or larceny if the property is owned by the defendant.


One of the possible defenses against theft charges is to prove that the defendant is found to be intoxicated at the time the alleged theft occurred. When a person is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, he or she may be unable to form the required intent to steal. Since every theft case requires the defendant to have specific intent to commit the theft, this can be a viable defense.

Return of Property

Most people often believe that returning the allegedly stolen item wipes the slate clean and precludes any charge of theft. Accused thieves often claim the property in question is merely “borrowed” – not stolen. However, returning stolen property generally does not provide a defense to theft charges. However, returning the stolen items may help with reducing the penalties. This act can make you appear more sympathetic to a prosecutor for purposes of a possible plea deal.


The defense of entrapment applies when the accused commits a crime but has been encouraged or induced to do so by someone else. In a theft charge, the entrapment defense applies if the idea to steal is from the entrapping person to apprehend and prosecute the targeted person. If someone, such as a police officer, has convinced you to steal something that you will not have otherwise taken, then you may be able to raise an entrapment defense.

Call Our Experienced Atascadero Theft Crime Lawyers Now!

Whether it’s petty theft, grand theft, shoplifting, burglary, or robbery, being convicted of a theft crime can bring serious consequences. This fact may keep you from getting a job or a loan and can disqualify you from obtaining professional licenses. It can ruin your reputation and your future.

If you or a loved one is accused of theft, it is highly advisable to seek legal advice from our seasoned Atascadero theft crime lawyers at 805 Law Group to help you protect your rights. Our criminal defense law firm has extensive experience in handling theft cases. We have successfully fought for a reduction of charges or even a dismissal of the case against our clients. Call us now and schedule an initial consultation with our legal team.

For more information on theft charges, call our firm at (805) 420-7547.