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San Jose CA theft charges attorneyThere are many times in which certain words can be interchanged and used in place of one another. When you are dealing with the law, it is crucial that wording is precise, so as to avoid as much confusion as possible. While you are pretty much able to use theft, robbery and burglary in the same context in normal conversation, they mean three very different things when you are speaking in the context of the law. They are separate charges that each come with their own punishments. If you have been charged with theft, robbery or burglary, it is important to know what exactly you have been charged with and the consequences for that charge.

Theft

Two terms that are interchangeable in California law are theft and larceny. California law states that larceny occurs when a person takes, steals, carries, leads or drives away the personal property of another person. There are many ins and outs of theft in California -- the punishments vary greatly depending on the type of objects that were taken and the value of those objects. Typically, grand theft can carry a prison sentence of up to a year and a monetary fine. Petty theft can carry a $1,000 fine, six months in county jail or both.

Robbery

According to California law, theft is defined as the felonious taking of personal property that is in possession of another person and in his immediate presence, accomplished by means of force or fear. Fear can mean the fear of unlawful injury to the person who is robbed, relatives or family members of that person, or anyone in that person’s company. Punishment for robbery can vary. If the person robbed a dwelling alongside two or more other people, they could be looking at three, six or nine years in the state prison. In cases other than that, a person who commits robbery will be facing three, four or six years in state prison.

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San Jose criminal defense lawyers, shopliftingWhen you hear the word shoplifting you likely envision someone wandering around a store pretending to shop while he or she covertly slides merchandise into his or her bag or pockets. But do you think about someone cashing a forged check at a bank? Probably not. However, according to a recent ruling from the California Supreme Court, cashing a forged check can now be classified as shoplifting under some circumstances.

This new ruling comes from the case People v. Gonzales and expands our state’s definition of shoplifting to not only refer to stealing merchandise from a store while pretending to be a customer, but also encompasses other types of theft as well based on the definitions provided in Proposition 47.

People v. Gonzales

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