The most typical kinds of theft usually involve an act of physical force such as burglary or robbery, but the state of California recognizes another kind of theft. This theft, called theft by false pretenses, is when someone convinces another person to voluntarily give them their property by saying something that isn't true or by making a promises they don't intend to keep. That type of theft is called theft by false pretenses.
Theft by false pretenses
In order for a prosecutor to convict someone of theft by false pretenses, they must be able to prove several specific elements of the crime. These elements include:
- Knowing and intentionally deceiving someone by false pretenses– the prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant made someone believe things that weren't true after saying false statements, while knowing the statements were false all along.
- Intent to persuade someone to give up property – The prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant intended to persuade another person to give up their property. The defendant can't be convicted if they intended to deceive someone for another purpose other than to gain possession of the property.
- Reliance by the other person on the false pretense – The person who gave up their property must have done so because of what they were told by the defendant, believing their false statement was true.
- False token, writing or witness – The prosecution must show concrete proof that the defendant said something false or created a false impression.
Penalties for theft by false pretenses
Petty theft penalties
When property is stolen that is less than $950 it is considered petty theft. Punishment for this is maximum 6 months in county jail or a $1,000 fine, or both. Joel Bailey can help you avoid jail in instances like this. Give Joel Bailey a call today at 760-643-4025!
Grand theft penalties
If the property taken is worth more than $950, or is a car or a firearm, then it is considered grand theft. The punishment for grand theft is, if charged as a misdemeanor, up to one year in county jail. But if it is charged as a felony, it can range from sixteen months, two years, or three years in prison.
Hiring a theft lawyer in California
If you would like to speak to a lawyer with in-depth experience regarding theft by false pretenses, contact us here.
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