Property crimes include petty theft, grand theft, grand theft auto, and theft by receiving. What you are charged with and the resultant penalties will depend on the value of the property unlawfully taken and the nature of the property taken.
Most shoplifting offenses are charged as petty theft. If the item taken is less than $50, it can be considered an infraction, which is not a criminal offense. First-time offenders may be charged with infractions that carries a fine of up to $250.
If the property has a value less than $950, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. You face up to 6 months in jail and a fine from $50 to $1,000.
The offense can be also committed by changing the price tag on an item or by lying to gain possession of property.
Unlawfully taking property worth more than $950 is grand theft, which may constitute a misdemeanor or a felony. This generally depends on whether this is a first offense and the value of the property.
A felony offense carries county or state prison time of up to one year. If you used a firearm in the commission of this crime, the penalty is increased to 16-months to 3 years in state prison.
Stealing a car or driving it without the owner’s permission even temporarily can be charged either a misdemeanor or a felony, again depending on your past criminal record and the circumstances of your case. Generally, if it is a first offense and you took the vehicle for a joyride, or meant to possess it temporarily, you may only face a misdemeanor charge.
First-time offenders, if a misdemeanor, face up to one year in county or state prison and a fine up to $5,000.
As a felony, defendants face sentencing from 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison followed by 3 years of formal probation.
This is also the crime of receiving stolen property. If you buy, sell, receive, conceal, or withhold stolen property, you can be so charged. You must have known, or should have known, that the property was stolen. You must also be shown to have direct control over the stolen property.
You can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history.
As a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
A felony conviction carries a state prison sentence of 16 months, or 2 or 3 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
You also face a civil penalty for receiving stolen property. If you are sued in civil court, you could pay three times the amount of the loss to the victim along with attorney’s fees and costs.