Facing criminal charges of any kind can be a life-changing experience. While theft charges may not be as severe as homicide or drug trafficking, a criminal record for theft offenses can lead to substantial penalties and interfere with your life in many ways after the conclusion of your sentence. Therefore, anyone charged with any form of theft in the Napa, CA, area needs a Napa theft lawyer who can guide them through their case proceedings and help them avoid conviction, or at least reduce their sentence.
The Law Office of Conor Bell provides comprehensive and aggressive criminal defense representation to clients accused of theft offenses in the Napa, CA, area. Attorney Bell is a seasoned criminal defense attorney with prior experience as a prosecutor working for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. This prosecutorial experience enables Attorney Bell to carefully examine every criminal case he accepts from the prosecution’s perspective, empowering his clients with a more robust defense than most criminal defense lawyers can match.
If you have been charged with theft of any kind in Napa, CA, the Law Office of Conor Bell can provide the legal counsel you need to approach your case with greater confidence. Attorney Bell knows how local prosecutors tend to handle theft cases and can help you determine your best available defenses.
Every American accused of a criminal offense has the right to legal counsel under the sixth amendment of the US Constitution. Even if the accused cannot afford a private defense attorney, the court can provide a public defender at no cost to the accused. Some defendants choose to have public defenders represent them because they do not wish to pay legal fees. While it may seem more practical to choose defense counsel from a public defender at no cost, it’s vital to understand how public defenders work.
While most public defenders are capable and hardworking attorneys who do their best for their clients, the nature of their work requires them to manage several cases at a time. A public defender may need to divide a single workday among three or more active cases, meaning they have very little flexibility to provide individual attention to any given case. Ultimately, no defendant can expect the same level of legal representation they would receive from a private criminal defense lawyer from even the best public defenders.
California upholds penalties for theft offenses comparable to many other states in the US, basing the penalty for theft on the value of goods stolen. Generally, there are two types of theft offenses prosecuted in California criminal courts: petty theft and grand theft. The theft of goods valued under $950 qualifies as petty theft, while theft of more than $950 in goods is grand theft. While California prosecutors will usually pursue a misdemeanor conviction for petty theft, the offense can potentially escalate to a felony if the defendant has a prior theft conviction and a prior violent crime conviction on their record.
The penalty for misdemeanor petty theft can include up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, if the stolen property cannot be returned to the rightful owner, the defendant will likely owe restitution to the victim in the amount of the stolen property’s value. If a defendant faces conviction for a “petty with a prior” offense, their sentence could increase to up to one year in county jail at the misdemeanor level, or 16 months, two years, or three years if their offense qualifies as a felony.
The penalties for grand theft convictions are more severe. Theft of more than $950 in goods can qualify as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the details of the case, but theft of a firearm of any value qualifies as a grand theft felony punishable by 16 months, two years, or three years in prison. Misdemeanor grand theft incurs a penalty of up to one year in jail, and felony grand theft can lead to 16 months, two years, or three years in prison. The defendant will also face a fine, penalty assessments, and restitution to the victim.
Shoplifting, or stealing from a retail establishment during open business hours, is generally considered the lightest form of theft punishable under California’s criminal code. However, it’s possible for the offender found guilty of shoplifting to face both civil and criminal penalties based on several factors. Shoplifting goods from a store valued at less than $950 qualifies as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail. The defendant will also be civilly liable for damages to the store owner for the retail value of the goods stolen if the goods are not in a returnable and resaleable condition, the total damages between $50 and $500, and the store owner’s legal costs.
Facing theft charges can seem like a hopeless situation until you secure legal counsel from a defense attorney you can trust. Attorney Conor Bell has extensive experience handling a wide range of criminal cases, including driving under the influence (DUI) offenses, and can apply this experience to your theft case. Remember after your arrest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have secured representation from a criminal defense attorney.
After retaining Attorney Bell as your defense counsel, he will carefully review the details of your case and help you determine your best available defenses. Of course, no defense attorney can guarantee any specific result for their client, but you can rest assured that Attorney Bell will explore every possible defense available to you and help you minimize your penalty, ideally securing an acquittal or case dismissal if at all possible.
The sooner you secure legal counsel after an arrest for a theft charge in Napa, CA, the better your chances will be of successfully defending yourself. If you or a loved one is charged with shoplifting, petty theft, or grand theft in the Napa, CA, area, contact the Law Office of Conor Bell as soon as possible to schedule your consultation and learn more about your defense options.