In California, there is a large group of criminal offenses known as property crimes. Some of the commonly charged offenses in this category include Burglary, Robbery, Vehicle Theft, Petty Theft or Shoplifting, and Fraud and Embezzlement. Each of these crimes has a specific definition with distinctive elements. If you are involved in a criminal investigation surrounding a property offense, or if you are facing criminal charges, you should speak to one of our seasoned criminal defense lawyers in our Colusa or Lake County offices as soon as possible. Although you may think that you can make the problem go away by honestly telling the police what happened, it is not always so easy. Even when you think that speaking up is in your best interest, it may actually harm you in the long term. At Hinely Law, our Colusa and Lake County property crime lawyers have provided knowledgeable representation to many people dealing with criminal investigations or charges. At Hinely Law we can help protect all of your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly.Property Offenses Under California Law
- Burglary: Under California law, burglary consists of the unlawful entry or attempted entry of various structures with the intent to commit a felony or a theft. In fact, one can even commit a burglary by entering a tent with the intent to commit a theft or felony. A burglary does not require someone to “break” and enter. That is only a figure of speech. Up until 2014 prosecutors routinely charged the crime of burglary when someone entered into a store with the intent to shoplift. However, California lawmakers recognized this issue and passed Proposition 47 making the entering into a commercial establishment, while the establishment is open for business, a “shoplifting”, as long as the value of property does not exceed $950.00.
- Robbery: One common misconception regarding property crimes is the difference between burglary and robbery. One is often heard saying “I have been robbed”. Burglary involves entering a structure with the intent to take property or commit a felony. Whereas, robbery involves the taking of property from an individual by using force or the threat of force to that person or even the person’s friend, or family member. Robbery is a serious offense with harsh consequences. If you are being investigated or charged with robbery, it is vital that you contact an attorney immediately. Our Colusa, Lake, Sutter, and Yuba County property crime attorneys have handled many robbery cases with positive results.
- Vehicle Theft: Motor vehicle theft is the taking or attempted taking of a vehicle of another without their permission. Vehicle theft can even include failing to return a leased or rented vehicle within 5 days of the end of the expiration of the rental/lease period.
- Petty Theft/Shoplifting: In general, a defendant will be charged with petty theft if they took or attempted to take goods worth under $950.00. A defendant may be charged with grand theft if the value of the goods exceeds $950.00. Grand theft may be either a felony or a high-level misdemeanor, while petty theft tends to be a misdemeanor.
- Fraud and Embezzlement:
- Another class of property-related crimes consists of offenses involving money and financial transactions, which include fraud, embezzlement, and even extortion. While fraud charges can stem from the use of “bad checks” or stolen or fake credit or ATM cards, embezzlement and extortion crimes are often known as “white collar crimes,” and tend to be especially complex in terms of the elements that must be proven and the defenses that an individual can assert.
- Other Factors that Influence Property Crimes: If you are subject to a criminal investigation or if you have been charged with a crime, it is critical that you understand your rights and that you retain a property crime attorney in Colusa, Lake, Yuba, or Sutter Counties who will make strategic decisions on your behalf. Property crimes are classified according to a spectrum of degrees, and the level of the charge that you face will depend on a number of factors. The prosecution will assess the amount and value of the goods that allegedly were taken or were part of an attempted taking. The prosecution will account for any actual or potential bodily harm that resulted during the criminal act, or if a structure was inhabited or occupied at the time of the offense. Finally, the prosecution will consider whether any weapons or other types of force were used.
Facing a criminal investigation is one of the most stressful, risky, and potentially life-altering experiences that someone can face. At Hinely Law, we have proudly provided a vigorous defense to people throughout Colusa, Lake, Sutter, and Yuba Counties. We maintain offices in Colusa and Lakeport, and we are committed to providing our clients with responsive service, ensuring that each client receives the personalized attention that they deserve. To our office, you are a valuable human being with distinctive needs and concerns, rather than just another case file. To schedule a free consultation with a Colusa or Lake County property crime attorney, at which you can learn more about your legal rights and options, call us at (530) 458-2950 or contact us online to set up your appointment. Hinely Law also can assist people who need a domestic violence lawyer or representation in facing criminal charges related to assault, marijuana and other drug offenses, and more.