Law Office of Ronald A. Cabanayan
Law Office of
Ronald A. Cabanayan

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What is the difference between petty theft and grand theft?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2020 | Criminal Defense

It is common knowledge that stealing is wrong, but sometimes a person in San Jose makes a one-time mistake or gets caught up in a bad situation. Property can go missing, and they may be blamed for it. This could lead to theft charges. However, it is important to note that California recognizes two classifications of theft: petty theft and grand theft.

Theft in general is a crime in which a person permanently takes another person’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property. Such property can include personal property such as jewelry or electronics, money, land or real estate or the value of labor or services.

Theft is classified as grand theft when the value of the stolen property is greater than $950, with some exceptions for certain types of property or persons, or if the property is taken from the person of another, regardless of its value. If the property stolen is an automobile or a firearm, this will be classified as grand theft regardless of its value. Any other types of theft will be classified as petty theft. Grand theft is penalized more harshly than petty theft but either crime can have serious consequences for the accused.

This basic overview of theft in California is informative, but it is not legal advice. Ultimately, if a person is charged with petty theft or grand theft, they should seek the help of professionals who understand criminal law and can assist those facing theft charges in formulating an effective defense strategy that leads to a reduction of charges or that leads to having the charges dropped altogether.