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Grand Theft Crimes in California

Posted by Dan Kann | Nov 14, 2022 | 0 Comments

Grand Theft refers to taking property, labor or money belonging to someone else that is valued at $950 or more. Anything less than that is considered Petty Theft. There are four distinct types of Grand Theft crimes in California. You can either be charged with a felony or misdemeanor for all four types of crimes depending on individual circumstances. Furthermore, you may face felony charges if the Grand Theft was committed using a gun.


Larceny is treated as a common form of Theft where the property of someone is taken and moved elsewhere. A California prosecutor needs to prove the following to convict the accused of Grand Theft by larceny:

  • Took property of another
  • The property was taken without the owner's permission
  • Property was taken to deprive the rightful owner of its value or to permanently possess it
  • The property was moved elsewhere

It is Larceny even if you moved someone else's property mere inches with the intention of keeping it.

False Pretenses

Grand Theft by False Pretenses is comprised of:

  • Intentionally telling something to someone with the purpose of deceiving them
  • The intention is to persuade the individual to give up their property
  • The other person would not have given up their property but for the deception

For instance, you could be charged with Grand Theft by false pretenses if you convinced someone to give up their expensive watch by deceivingly claiming it was a cheap fake and that they should be embarrassed by wearing it and they give it to you and you take it.


Grand Theft by Trick and Grand Theft by False Pretenses are very similar. However, Grand Theft by Trick occurs when the owner intended to grant only temporary possession of the property. The illegal trick is that you intended to take permanent possession of the watch unbeknownst to the owner and the property owner did not intend to transfer permanent ownership of the item to you.

For instance, in the above example, if the watch owner gave you the watch only for the time that you could go and confront the store owner on the individual's behalf, it would be termed as Grand Theft by Trick. The watch owner in this case fully intended for you to hand over the watch once you had confronted the store owner.


Grand Theft by Embezzlement is the last charge. You have embezzled property if you are given control of another's property and you abuse the trust. You would have committed Grand Theft by Embezzlement if you were given control of an employer's business bank account to pay vendors and employees, but you transferred some or all of the funds to your own account. You would have committed Grand Theft by Embezzlement even if you intended to return the funds.

Grand Theft Punishment in California

A misdemeanor conviction of Grand Theft can incur up to a year in county jail, whereas, a felony conviction could bring a maximum jail sentence of 3 years. However, there are sentence enhancements you need to be careful about regarding the crime of Grand Theft as well. You could be looking at up to 3 years in state prison if you used a gun. In addition, you may be charged with enhanced penalties if you stole more than $65,000. You may face an additional four years in prison if the property was valued in excess of $3.2 million.

Speak with a Highly Rated Criminal Defense Attorney Today

The skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense team at the Kann California Law Group can defend you against Grand Theft charges. Give us a call at 888-744-7730 or use our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

About the Author

Dan Kann

Daniel E. Kann has devoted his entire legal career exclusively to defending individuals facing criminal prosecution in Southern California. Dan fights criminal cases throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.


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