Fresno grand theft lawyer Michael McKneely has spent years helping people eliminate and reduce their charges. Attorney McKneely will hear your side of the story, gathering every detail until an accurate picture can be painted. He will use his experience as both a prosecutor and a defender to give your case the best possible chance of success. Grand theft is undoubtedly one of the most common crimes in the United States. Unlike petty theft, it involves stealing high-value items. As a result, the penalties for this crime can be severe, with consequences including huge fines and time in prison. Call (559) 443-7442 now or contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer online to speak with a capable theft attorney about your case.
Understanding Grand Theft in California
Simply put, theft is taking someone else’s property, but when that property is worth more than $950, the crime may be prosecuted as grand theft (California Penal Code section 487(a).) An example of this might be a woman stealing a piece of jewelry valued at $2,000 or a man driving off with a car that he does not own. In some cases, grand theft charges can arise from misunderstandings. Imagine, for example, a person who borrows a friend’s dirt bike. The person keeps the dirt bike for several days, assuming that they have been granted access to it for a significant period of time. However, not knowing where his bike was taken, the friend calls the police, saying that the vehicle was stolen. Unfortunately, theft cases like this are all too common.
Punishments for Grand Theft
In California, grand theft is a “wobbler” crime. This means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Factors that are often considered by the prosecutor include the total value of the property that was stolen, whether or not the crime was premeditated, and if there is evidence that the crime was malicious. The consequences that can follow both levels of grand theft include, among other things:
- Grand Theft (Misdemeanor): A fine and up to one year in county jail
- Grand Theft (Felony): A larger fine and up to three years of incarceration
When a person is found guilty of a crime, their criminal record can haunt them for their entire life. Finding a job after getting out of jail, for example, can be extremely difficult. Many employers shy away from hiring those with criminal records, and a lot of large and well-known companies forbid it entirely. A person’s attempts to continue their education might also fall short, as many colleges and universities thoroughly vet applicants before admitting them. Scholarships can even be off-limits as well, and government financial aid affected.
Avoiding a Criminal Conviction
When facing grand theft charges, there are a number of defenses that can be used to protect your freedom. It might be the case that you were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, and people are often arrested based on little or no evidence. Another effective strategy is proving that your rights were violated at the time of your arrest. If you were not read your Miranda rights, for example, any statement you have made while in custody may be excluded.
Talk to a Fresno Grand Theft Defense Attorney Today
There is no doubt that going through a criminal trial can take a mental and emotional toll. That is why you need someone by your side who will guide you through every step of the process. Fresno grand theft lawyer Mike McKneely will do whatever it takes under the law to protect your freedom. With his help, you can mount a real legal defense.
If you’re facing grand theft charges in California, preserve your legal rights by contacting Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer. Fresno criminal defense attorney Michael McKneely has been on both sides of the criminal justice system, so he knows what to expect and how to make the process easier for you. Call for free and confidential consultation today at (559) 443-7442.