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What is Larceny?

by Shelby Wall

Have you been accused of larceny in Orange County? Learn how this charge differs from similar theft-related crimes under California law. Find out who you can turn to for help if someone files larceny charges against you.

What Is Larceny?

In Orange County, CA, larceny falls under 484 Penal Code (PC). California’s 484 PC defines the crime of larceny as the wrongful physical taking or stealing of another’s property. 

Other California laws are similar to those outlined by 484 PC but defined slightly differently, including the following:

  • Grand theft occurs when you take property valued at more than $950. 
  • Petty theft occurs when you take property valued at less than $950.
  • Theft by pretense occurs when you steal property by using intentional deception, and the other party relies on your false statement to give you the item.
  • Theft by embezzlement occurs when you fraudulently take property someone entrusted you with. 

Examples of larceny under California law include:

  • When someone gives false information regarding their ownership of a property to sell the property to a secondhand store and receive money in return, 484.1 PC.
  • When someone accepts money meant to pay for another party’s services, fails to pay for those services, and instead diverts the money to a different use, 484b PC.
  • When someone presents a fake voucher to secure a construction loan and fails to use the loan funds for the claimed purpose, 484c PC.

Why You Need Qualified Representation

Depending on whether you are charged with grand theft or petty theft larceny, your crime could be an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. 

Penalties for a petty theft misdemeanor can include imprisonment of up to six months in the county jail and a base fine of up to $1,000. In some cases, your California larceny lawyer may be able to argue your charges down to an infraction or even get your charges dismissed.

In Orange County, a larceny infraction is considered a minor offense. The penalty is generally a fine without jail time so long as you pay the fine on time.

Certain aggravating factors can turn your petty theft charges into grand theft charges, which may increase your penalty to one year in jail. These aggravating factors include the following:

  • You stole property valued at $950 or more.
  • You stole property directly from the victim.
  • You stole a motor vehicle.
  • You stole a firearm.

Your attorney may successfully secure alternative sentencing for you under the Conviction and Sentence Alternatives Program (CASA). CASA focuses on mental health and drug treatment, incentives, and alternative sanctions.

Potential Defenses for Larceny

There are several potential defenses for larceny, including:

  • You borrowed the property and did not steal it.
  • You took the property with the owner’s consent.
  • You have a right to use the property.

If you have been charged with theft, qualified representation can help. Your lawyer will determine the most promising strategy for your case and carefully craft your defense to help you beat these charges.

Speak With a California Larceny Lawyer

Larceny, or theft, can be charged in various ways and come with a range of penalties. An experienced California larceny lawyer can help you find the right defense for your case. Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to discuss your case.