Here’s a scene you might be familiar with: you’ve just exited the grocery store and you are heading home for dinner with the family. In the rush to get out of the parking lot you back into a cement barrier next to your car, scraping up the bumper and potentially denting the body of your car. Great. Now what? You weigh all the options and ultimately decide you’ll contact your insurance company and report the damage as a hit and run. Who’s going to know the difference? You’ve even gone so far as to look for any cameras lurking around the area in which you parked – all clear. So you make the call and report the damage to your insurance agent. After all, you pay a lot of money for your insurance, why no use it when you need it?
Unfortunately, for as simple and as common as this scenario may sound, it’s also quite illegal. Not only have you acted in a fraudulent manner, you may have also committed grand theft – otherwise known as California Penal Code 487 PC. In California, grand theft is any type of thievery that amounts to more than $950.
Typically, when we hear “grand theft” on the nightly news it’s about armed robberies or burglaries. But, it is not regulated to just stick-up jobs. Grand theft is a crime that just about anyone can quickly find themselves being charged with. Skimming a little bit of the register at work? Pocketing loose cash around the house of a friend or family member? Over time petty thefts such as these can quickly add up to one grand situation.
What Should I do if I am Charged With Grand Theft?
As long as you haven’t knocked over a jewelry store, robbed a bank or committed some other form of larceny, odds are someone has been building a case against you for some time. In that case – or any situation for that matter – the moment you are taken into custody we highly recommend you remain silent and request an attorney. The more you plead your innocence, explain the situation or try to wish the charges away by telling the police everything – the more trouble you will likely find yourself in more trouble. We understand the instinctive desire to do everything you can to flee the situation – but talking to the police without representation will only prolong the time you are incarcerated. So keep as quiet as you possible can and let your attorney do the talking.
Depending on the situation and how you found yourself to be charged with grand theft, you could be looking at anywhere from one to three years in jail. Grand theft is the state of California is known as a “wobbler,” which means you could either face a misdemeanor or felony charge. Which one the judge ultimately decides upon greatly depends on your past record, how the offense was conducted and your overall defense strategy.
For more information about grand theft or to schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one, call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, day or night, at (714) 530-9690.