Articles Posted in Theft

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Car Theft CaliforniaA recent study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) showed that California was the number one state for car thefts in 2014. The report also listed the areas in California where auto theft occurred the most:

  • The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan region had the most car thefts per capita, with a ratio of 633.3 thefts per 100,000 people (a combined total of 29,093 stolen cars)
  • Bakersfield was second with approximately 596 thefts per 100,000 people (totaling 5,211 stolen cars)
  • The Stockton-Lodi area reached 593 thefts per 100,000 residents (with 4,245 thefts in 2014)

Why is Car Theft so Prevalent in California?

Frank Scafidi, spokesman and director of public affairs for NICB, offered the following reasons for the disproportionate level of auto theft in California:

  • Cars are generally maintained better in California – As a result of the state’s temperate weather, California vehicles are in better condition than they would otherwise be if they were in excessive heat or snow. Thus, stolen cars from California can fetch a higher price in illicit markets.
  • Cars can be more easily transported out of the country via California’s proximity to sea lanes – California is optimally situated in terms of geography for the logistics of auto theft. As a coastal state, stolen cars can be smuggled out from the state’s seaports relatively quickly and easily.
  • California has more cars – As anyone who has driven on interstate 405 during rush hour can attest, California is a largely vehicle-oriented state. According to Scafidi, there are more cars in California than there are in any other state, which increases the opportunity and likelihood of auto theft.
  • California has a drug problem. Scafidi stated that the state’s widespread issue with methamphetamine abuse drives auto theft as users seek to quickly finance their addiction by stealing cars and selling them for parts.1

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Most of us have done it. With smartphone cameras’ ability to take forward-facing pictures, we’ve snapped one or two (or several) portrait shots of ourselves to see how we look. “Selfies” may be vain, but they don’t hurt anybody. But as a recent case in Florida demonstrates, it can hurt you if you stole the phone you were using to take the selfie.


In Tampa, Fla., police are searching for a white male who stole a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone from a gas station while the victim was pumping gas. Luckily for the victim, the phone was password protected, which prevented the man from accessing the phone’s apps.

One of the apps, a security program called Lookout, automatically took two selfies after the suspect incorrectly entered the password too many times. The app was able to capture a clear photo of the suspect and sent the photos to the victim’s email address. The victim gave the photos to Tampa police, who have released the photos to try to find the man.

The Lookout app also sends a one-time GPS location. In the Tampa theft case, the GPS location tracker traced the phone to a nearby apartment complex, but neither the suspect nor the phone could be found. The Lookout app is similar to the “Find my iPhone” app for iPhones, iPads and other Mac devices, which continually traces a stolen Mac product’s location through GPS tracking.1

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In Riverside County, there have been 1,252 reports of automobile theft so far this year. In addition, there have been over 5,000 reports of other theft incidents in the county.1 In California, theft is defined as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to steal. Under California Penal Code section 487, your theft charge can be elevated to a “grand theft” charge in Riverside County if one of three conditions existed:

  • The incident involved theft of an automobile or firearm;
  • The property stolen is valued at more than $950; OR
  • The property was stolen directly off of the property owner.

If you are facing a grand theft charge, you should contact our office immediately in order to avoid some of the harsh penalties associated with a conviction.

If Convicted of Grand Theft, What Consequences do I Face?


  • A Lengthy Jail Sentence: Grand theft is known as a “wobbler” offense, which means the prosecutor has the discretion to file it as a misdemeanor or felony depending on your criminal history and the circumstances surrounding your case. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor grand theft charge, you face up to a year in county jail. However, if convicted of felony grand theft, you face a sentence of 16 months, two or three years in county jail.In addition, there are other factors that could substantially enhance the length of your sentence. The criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are experienced in these enhancement provisions, and we will fight for you to ensure that you serve the shortest sentence possible if you are convicted.
  • Substantial Fines: A misdemeanor grand theft conviction carries a maximum fine of $1,000. However, a felony grand theft conviction could result in a fine up to $10,000.
  • Possible Impacts on Your Residency Status: Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), legal residents of the United States can face deportation proceedings if they are convicted of certain offenses. If you are convicted of grand theft, it is likely that the conviction will be characterized as an “aggravated felony” under the INA, and you might be deportable with limited removal relief.Furthermore, other theft convictions could be characterized as “crimes of moral turpitude,” which are deportable offenses under US immigration laws. In order to avoid these harsh consequences, it is extremely important that you consult with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys immediately.
  • Impact on Professional Licenses and Employment Opportunities: Depending upon your professional field, you could be facing possible professional sanctions or the loss of professional licenses.
  • Limited Job Opportunities: Certain convictions may need to be disclosed on future job applications, limiting your ability to pursue certain opportunities. In today’s job market, employers can choose between many highly qualified candidates. If you have a theft conviction on your record, it is highly unlikely you would be selected for employment among other qualified candidates. At Wallin & Klarich, we can help you avoid these consequences, providing you with greater professional and financial flexibility for the future.

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According to the OC Register, more than 100,000 visitors packed into Newport Beach, California to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2012. Newport Beach has approximately 85,000 permanent residents.

If you plan to celebrate this year’s festivities in Newport Beach, remember to party responsibly. The Newport Beach Police Department’s crime statistics indicate that the following five crimes typically experience a significant rise during the month of July:

1. Public Intoxication (California Penal Code section 647(f))


In July 2012, there were a reported 145 public intoxication arrests in Newport Beach. It is interesting to note that this was the only month to see a triple-figure amount for this offense. In fact, no other month saw more than 81 reported public intoxication offenses.

To convict you of public intoxication in Newport Beach, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were willfully under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;
  • You were in a public place while under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance; AND
  • You were unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others; OR
  • You interfered with, obstructed, or prevented the free use of a street, sidewalk, or other public way because you were under the influence.

One of our skilled attorneys recently got a public intoxication charge against our client completely dismissed. Our client was facing up to 90 days in county jail and 1-year suspension of his driver’s license if convicted. Due to the attorney’s tremendous efforts, the district attorney agreed to drop the charge after agreeing that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Click here to continue reading.

2. Petty Theft (California Penal Code section 488)


In July 2012, there were a reported 116 petty thefts in Newport Beach. This accounted for 16% of the city’s petty thefts in 2012.

To convict you of petty theft under PC 488, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements:

  • You took possession of property owned by someone else;
  • You took possession of the property without the owner’s permission;
  • When you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time such that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

The prosecutor also carries the significant evidentiary burden of proving three additional facts in order to convict you of petty theft:

  • The stolen property had a market value of $950 or less;
  • The property was not taken directly from the owner (e.g. pickpocketing); AND
  • The property is not of a special type, such as an automobile, firearm, or farm animal.

Recently, an experienced Wallin & Klarich defense attorney helped one of our clients avoid time in a juvenile detention facility after she was accused of petty theft under PC 488. If convicted, our client faced up to 6 months in juvenile detention. The attorney used his extensive legal knowledge to raise a successful objection to the arresting officer’s testimony against our client. Read the full story here.

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Defending yourself against accusations of theft is a nearly impossible burden without the help of an experienced theft attorney. The Riverside theft lawyers at Wallin & Klarich understand what you are going through. You can make it through this; you just need a little help. Below we go through just a few of the defense strategies that we have employed that have allowed many of our clients to win their cases.

Punishment for Theft Crimes in California

Consequences of Theft Riverside

An experienced theft defense attorney can do a great deal for you in the stages before a trial. The reason is the penalties you face for theft charges depend a lot on the prosecutor. A criminal defense attorney can attempt to have the prosecutor dismiss or reduce the charges.

For instance, if you face accusations of grand theft under California Penal Code section 487, you are accused of stealing items worth more than $950. Grand theft is a “wobbler” offense, meaning the prosecutor can charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction can result in a sentence between 16 months and three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

In many cases, we have been able to have our clients’ felony grand theft matters either dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor with no jail time having to be served.

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Actor Andrew Boryski was charged with multiple criminal counts for allegedly cheating aspiring actors out of thousands of dollars in an immigration visa scam, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said Thursday in a press release.

Grand%20Theft%20Penal%20Code%20487%20-%20Los%20Angeles%20Criminal%20Defense%20888-280-6839.jpgThe Canadian national operated a Los Angeles area immigration consulting business that sought O-1 visas on behalf of aspiring foreign actors. The O-1 visa is intended for established entertainment professionals with work pending in the United States – not for newcomers to the business without actual employment, as was the case with Boryski’s alleged victims.

Now Boryski, an aspiring actor himself, is charged with 32 misdemeanor counts, including three counts of grand theft, one count of practicing law without a license, and 28 counts of violating provisions of the Immigration Consultant Act. If convicted, Boryski could face up to one year in jail for each count, or 32 years.

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Prosecution for grand theft under California Penal Code Section 487 can be very stressful as this involves taking property belonging to another person wherein the value exceeds $950. Property can involve things such as money, cars, guns, animals or personal property.

Grand%20Theft%20Penal%20Code%20487%20-%20Criminal%20Defense%20888-280-6839.jpgA misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a felony conviction can result in up to 3 years in county jail. Theft offenses are serious and the prosecution will be aggressive in seeking a conviction and jail time in most cases.

The Wallin and Klarich lawyers can guide you through the criminal process from arraignment, to pre trials, preliminary hearings and to the actual trial if needed. The Wallin and Klarich lawyers can put your mind at ease by going through the process with you.

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Theft crimes are the most commonly prosecuted property crimes in California. This crime is especially frequent during the holiday season, when many people are shopping in public and distractions are all over the place.

If you are charged with theft, the consequences you face will depend upon the circumstances of your case. However, no matter what type of theft you are charged with, the punishment could be very severe. That’s why it is important to hire and experienced criminal defense law firm to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case.

What is Grand Theft in California?

felony grand theftIn California, there are two different types of theft charges. Petty theft typically is charged if the property stolen is valued at less than $950. This is a misdemeanor offense under PC 484, but you still face six months in county jail if you are convicted of petty theft.

However, grand theft is a much more serious charge. Grand theft is typically charged when the value of the property stolen is $950 or more. Grand theft can be a serious felony offense in California, and it carries harsh punishment if you are convicted. A felony grand theft conviction under PC 487 is punishable by 16 months, two or three years in custody.

So, the main factor involved in determining whether you will face grand theft or petty theft charges is the value of the property stolen. However, there are a few additional things that factor in. For instance, if you have been previously convicted of petty theft three or more times, you could face felony charges. Additionally, grand theft is usually charged if you stole or attempted to steal a car.

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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.

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The answer is YES.

If you decide to shop in a department store and the store security personnel believe you have stolen an item from their store they have the right to stop and detain you when you attempt to leave the store.

Petty%20Theft%20Defense%20Lawyers%20PC%20484.jpgAt the time they stop you they often will have you go into a private room where you will be questioned. If security officers believe that you have stolen and item and hidden it in your purse they can demand you empty your belongings. If you refuse, they can call law enforcement and have them come to continue the questioning.

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About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.