San Bernardino Theft Lawyer
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San Bernardino Theft and Robbery Attorney
Theft happens every day in California, and it is a very common charge in our legal system. Despite its ubiquitous nature, the state treats theft severely and seeks to punish anyone it thinks has broken the law. If you find yourself dealing with a theft charge, you’ll want to enlist the services of a San Bernardino theft lawyer and robbery attorney to advocate for you and explain your side of the story.
At Exum Law Offices, we have plenty of experience handling all kinds of criminal offenses. We can represent you throughout the process, ensuring that you get a fair trial and that the prosecutors do not violate your civil rights. With an experienced attorney on your side, you have a better chance of avoiding jail or any major penalties in San Bernardino, CA.
Exum Law Offices Can Defend Against a Theft Charge
At Exum Law Offices, we see plenty of theft, robbery, and burglary cases, and our team has a solid idea of how to defend someone accused of these crimes. Our office has years of experience working in criminal law and defending the rights of those on trial. We treat every client as though they were the only one we have and work to give a personalized legal defense to match the details of the case.
Our lead attorney, Darryl Exum, has been working in the legal field for almost 30 years, and he’s seen just about everything that prosecutors can throw at him and his clients. While no attorney can guarantee a not-guilty verdict, Mr. Exum can work tirelessly to get you an acceptable outcome that avoids the harshest penalties.
What Are the Different Types of Theft?
Theft is a particularly broad term in our legal system, and it can mean many different things. In general, theft involves someone depriving someone else of their property without prior consent. While this seems simple, it can get complicated with the different types of theft. Some relatively minor offenses are only charged as misdemeanors, while other types of theft end up as white-collar crimes or felonies.
As the name implies, petty theft is the least severe form of the crime. This less severe nature does not mean that you shouldn’t respect a charge of petty theft.
Petty theft is typically charged any time someone steals an item valued at under $950. This would cover things like shoplifting something smaller from a store or purloining something from a person’s house while you are over there.
Grand theft covers the rest of the spectrum for any thefts of items over $950. This charge could include pocketing a ring at a jewelry store or trying to steal a bunch of electronics. Grand theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime.
What Is Robbery in California?
If theft is a crime against property, robbery is a crime against people. In the case of theft, the person likely doesn’t know that you are taking an item from them, nor are you using coercion or threats when attempting to take their property. In robbery, you use force to get someone to give you their property.
For instance, if you see a necklace on someone’s dresser and pocket it without anyone noticing, you’re committing theft. If you see the necklace, pull out a gun, and threaten the person to give it to you, that’s robbery.
Robbery comes in two forms: first- and second-degree. First-degree robbery is the more severe of the two, and the state can charge it when you commit a robbery:
- In a dwelling
- Against someone using an ATM
- Against the driver of a commercial vehicle
If you commit a robbery at any other time, it will likely end up as a second-degree offense. No matter the degree of the crime, this infraction is always a felony under the California penal code.
Is Burglary Different From Theft and Robbery in San Bernardino?
Burglary is in a different category than theft and robbery, but many clients face a charge for it along with theft in San Bernardino. Theft can happen in a place where the perpetrator is legally allowed to be. For instance, you can commit theft in a store while having the legal right to be there.
Burglary, on the other hand, occurs when you unlawfully enter a location to steal something. This includes any property that you don’t have the legal right to be in, ranging from someone’s car to their house.
Burglary charges come in two forms: second-degree and first-degree. Second-degree burglary typically covers incidents where someone breaks into a non-residential area, like a business. It is not as severe as a first-degree offense, but it can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the context of the case.
First-degree burglary is a felony in all cases. The state typically charges someone with first-degree burglary when they are caught breaking into a residence.
What Are the Charges for Theft, Robbery, and Burglary in California?
All three crimes are different and come with different sentences. Below is a list that can give you a general idea of what kind of sentence you may be looking at if the state convicts you of any of these crimes:
- Petty theft: Petty theft is a misdemeanor and comes with a maximum fine of up to $1,000. However, you won’t only have to deal with that, as the judge may also decide to sentence you to community service, probation, or counseling. You also face the risk of jail time for up to six months.
- Grand theft: Depending on your record and the nature of the case, this charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a felony, you’ll be looking at a maximum of up to three years in prison for a conviction. The misdemeanor version of the crime comes with up to one year in jail. You’ll also potentially pay fines and serve a probation period.
- Second-degree burglary: This crime may be a misdemeanor or a felony, and law enforcement will look at similar factors as they would for grand theft. The sentencing guidelines for second-degree burglary are nearly identical to grand theft, with a felony leading to up to three years in prison and a misdemeanor clocking in at one year in jail.
- First-degree burglary: This crime is always a felony and carries some stiff penalties. Anyone convicted of the crime faces up to six years in prison. You’ll also be open to a fine, and it will serve as a strike on your permanent record for felonies in California.
- Second-degree robbery: Robbery in the second degree will net you a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The state can also tack on additional years to the sentence if the perpetrator caused injuries or used a firearm in the course of committing the crime.
- First-degree robbery: The most severe of all the punishments on the list, you can face a punishment of up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Like its second-degree counterpart, first-degree robbery also carries the risk of additional jail time for using a firearm or causing an injury during the crime.
It is critical to mention that sentencing guidelines are just that: guidelines. Your experience may vary depending on the judge, the nature of the crime, and your previous criminal record if you have one. You’ll want to discuss the case with your San Bernardino attorney to see what kind of sentence you may be looking at and how to avoid it.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer If I’m Facing a Theft Crime Charge?
The law does not require you to have an attorney with you when dealing with a criminal charge, but you’ll be putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage by not retaining legal counsel. A San Bernardino attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that you have help with every step of the process.
Your attorney can offer you an unbiased view of the case that you won’t be able to see due to how close you are to the situation. While you may feel like you have an airtight case, your attorney can give you an objective view of your chances and the right way to proceed.
Many prosecuting attorneys want to finish cases as soon as possible by offering plea deals to those facing charges. These plea deals will require you to plead guilty and, in return, you will end up with a reduced sentence. Your attorney can tell you if a plea deal is worth pursuing in your situation.
Exum Law Offices: Your Theft Attorney With Experience in San Bernardino
When you are facing a severe criminal charge for theft, burglary, or robbery, you need an experienced litigator on your side who can fight for you in court and give you a better chance of securing a good deal. Going through the legal system alone isn’t advisable, and it may even lead you to get the worst verdict possible.
At Exum Law Offices, we handle criminal charges with empathy and determination. We never stop fighting for you and making sure that you get a fair trial. If you are dealing with a criminal charge, don’t wait. Contact us today to get started with your case, and let us give you the help you deserve.