You can be charged with a crime if you find personal property which appears to be lost and you pick it up and keep it. California has enacted Penal Code 485 pertaining to “lost” property. An important determination is whether there is a clue to ownership for the lost property. If there is no legitimate clue of ownership it is unlikely the prosecution will be able to convict you of an unlawful taking, which falls under the family of theft crimes or crimes of “moral turpitude.”
If you are accused of wrongfully appropriating lost property, you could face petty theft or grand theft charges. If the value of the property exceeds $950, you will likely face grand theft charges, which is more serious than a petty theft charge (which is incurred if the value of the property is $950 or less).
If you are facing theft allegations resulting from appropriating lost property, you will need the expertise of a skilled Orange County theft defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years and can help you achieve the best possible results. With offices located throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties, a Wallin & Klarich attorney is always available to assist you in your case. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com.