Petty Theft and Grand Theft
Theft is defined as the unlawful taking of somebody else’s property without their permission. In California, theft is divided into two degrees based on the value of the stolen property, type of property, and the method used. The lesser form of theft is called “Petty Theft” (covered by California Penal Code Sections 484 and 488); the more severe form is called “Grand Theft” (covered by California Penal Code Section 487).
Penal Code Section 484 – Petty Theft Violation
Penal Code Section 484 covers general theft violations also called larceny. Violating this criminal code may result in extensive fees, probation, and jail time.
To be convicted of petty theft under California Penal Code Section 484, a criminal defendant must have taken the property at issue, without the consent of the owner, and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the stolen property.
Officers tend to list this charge on a citation as “PC 484” or “484 PC.”
Penal Code Section 488 – Petty Theft Misdemeanor
Penal Code 488 covers the theft of property with a value of less than $950. Petty theft is charged as either an infraction or misdemeanor. Even a misdemeanor will remain on the accused’s permanent record. PC 488 petty theft may result in a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in county jail, or both.
Penal Code Section 487 – Grand Theft
The California Penal Code defines grand theft as the unlawful taking of someone else’s money, labor or property valued at $950.00 or greater. If the property is valued at less than $950.00, the charge can only be filed as the less serious offense of petty theft.
Grand theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and carries a maximum sentence of up to 3 years of incarceration.
If you have been arrested and accused of petty or grand theft, it’s imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney.