Whether you live in Riverside or are considering a move to the area, it’s understandable to wonder what kind of crime takes place here. Safety is a top concern for many people, and it can be difficult to feel at home somewhere you don’t feel safe and secure. In fact, many people specifically look for homes in areas with low crime rates to avoid feelings of unease altogether.
Unfortunately, crime happens everywhere. Ultimately, the differences from area to area come down to the types of crimes and the frequency with which they occur. This applies to Riverside as well. Though overall we live in a safe environment, there is still a risk of crime like in any other community. Theft, for example, does occur in Riverside.
Though this may sound troubling, it’s important to know that Riverside isn’t inherently more dangerous than any other area. If you are knowledgeable about a neighborhood and have a healthy wariness of unfamiliar situations, it can be simple to keep yourself out of vulnerable situations and take measures to make sure that you aren’t a victim of theft.
Types of Theft
Sometimes people conflate the concept of theft with other crimes like burglary, robbery, or larceny, but these are all distinct (though related) terms. When it comes to the letter of the law, theft can be a fairly nuanced subject. There are many types and subcategories of theft that can occur. By understanding what each type encompasses, you can react appropriately when you look at headlines and statistics about Riverside.
Petty theft is the most minor type of theft that can occur. This describes the act of taking money or items that are valued at $950 or less. For example, if you walk into your neighbor’s garage and steal their snow shovel, that would be considered petty theft. Usually, these crimes are considered a misdemeanor, and individuals charged with petty theft often receive a fine.
Grand theft is any type of theft that is above the $950 threshold. This can be in the form of physical items or money. For example, stealing $1,000 from your workplace’s safe would be considered grand theft. These crimes can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances. A type of crime that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony is sometimes called a “wobbler.”
Shoplifting is a type of theft that occurs when an item is stolen from a retail establishment. This is one of the most common types of theft and can be punishable with fines and jail time, depending on the circumstances, the value of the stolen property, and the establishment being shoplifted from.
Robbery is a particular type of theft and refers to acts of theft where violence or intimidation are involved. Whereas petty theft and shoplifting usually happen quietly, robbery would be something like stealing a person’s purse or taking money from a liquor store while making threats of physical harm. In these scenarios, confrontation and violence are used for the perpetrator to get what they want.
Robbery becomes armed robbery when a gun or other weapon is involved. Robbers often use weapons with the intent to intimidate rather than actually injure, but serious accidents can happen any time a weapon is introduced to a tense situation, making armed robbery a serious crime no matter the perpetrator’s intentions.
There are a few other types of theft that are less common. Fraud and embezzlement are considered types of theft but often have their own special set of laws and punishments.
What’s the Most Common Type of Theft in Riverside?
In Riverside, the most common types of theft are petty theft, grand theft, and robbery. These are the most common forms of theft for many areas, as they are the easiest to commit and don’t always require forethought or planning. Because of this, individuals can commit them in the moment or when they see an opportunity. Crimes like fraud and embezzlement require planning, know-how, and long-term action, not to mention opportunity. Petty and grand theft, however, can be committed (or attempted) by anyone.
Punishments for Theft
In most theft situations, where a private citizen has unlawfully taken another’s private property, the victim is usually left to decide whether or not to press criminal charges. Because theft varies so greatly in its possible details, punishments vary too.
As mentioned, petty theft usually results in a fine of up to $1,000 and a misdemeanor. Larger crimes can result in larger fines and jail time. The more force and violence that was used, the longer the sentence usually is. Robbery and armed robbery, for example, can result in prison stints of six years or longer, depending upon the circumstances.
Theft and Other Crimes
It’s important to note that many theft situations include other offenses and charges as well. For example, if an armed robbery results in an injury or death, there may be separate charges for assault, manslaughter, or murder. Similarly, if an armed robber is on parole, they may receive extra charges for having and using weapons illegally. Theft is not always a standalone charge. In fact, it can sometimes be a fairly small part of a much more complex case.
If you are charged with theft, there are many different defenses that your attorney might use to clear your name and win your case. In some scenarios, it may be appropriate to argue that you had permission to take the item at hand. For example, if you’re accused of stealing your neighbor’s snow shovel, as in our previous example, your attorney may argue that you were given permission to take it. There are also cases when you may argue that you were planning to return the item to its owner. For example, if the snow shovel was lying in the front yard and you took it to shovel your walkway, your attorney may argue that you had intended to give it back when you were finished, but your neighbor accused you before you had the chance.
Ultimately, your defense to a theft charge will come down to the details of your case. A high-powered criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss your options with you and develop an argument that gives you the best probability of winning.
Contact the Team at Exum Law After Theft Charges
If you are charged with any type of theft in Riverside, CA, or the surrounding areas, it is important to reach out to a qualified attorney right away. Exum Law Offices can help you develop a winning strategy and seek the justice you deserve. The sooner we begin to craft our case, the better your results in court will be, so don’t delay. You can’t afford to leave your theft case up to chance or put it in the hands of overworked public defenders. Any misstep can leave you with serious, lasting consequences.
For the best Riverside theft attorneys, contact Exum Law Offices today.