Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

What is the penalty for a first time offender of Grand Theft?

I took a few notebooks from work and sold one online (total under $1,100). My company found out and I was fired, I paid the company back the money that I received from the sale. The buyer reported me to the police. The police contacted me and I confessed to the police...knowing now that I was trapped into my confession. I was told by the police that I would be booked but have not heard anything yet. The buyer smeared my name on the internet. I had a lawyer friend contact the officer who says that the report has been turned over to the DA. What will happen to me? Will I be jailed? This is my first time offense...I desperately needed that money at that time...but know now how stupid it was of me. What can I do now? Please, any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Asked on 1/17/01, 8:20 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Barry Sands Barry Gerald Sands- Criminal Defense Lawyer, Inc.

Re: What is the penalty for a first time offender of Grand Theft?

first, the police will go to the da and file the case/ securing an arrest warrant to arrest you...then u will go to jail and have to make bail if u have the me toll free..1877bgscrim lyr for free consultation

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Answered on 2/12/01, 8:46 pm
Victor Hobbs Victor E. Hobbs

Re: What is the penalty for a first time offender of Grand Theft?

California has what is known as wobblers. These are specific charged crimes that the District Attorney normally receives from the police with a recommendation for a felony filing, and by law the D. A. has the option to charge as a Misdemeanor.

So I would expect you'll be charged with petty theft, a Misdemeanor.

The exact penalty that the D. A. will want is going to vary slightly by what county, and where in the county the court you're appearing in is. The wealthier the court district the fines go up I would not expect the fine to be very high. However, any fine is high for me, and there is a penalty assessment. In Orange Coounty that is 170% of the fine. In Orange County if the fine is set at $200.00 the actual money you'll owe will be $200.00 plus $200.00 plus $140.00 = $540.00 and some additional small assessments that are $1.00 here and $3.50 there. But that shouldn't come to very much. If you're unemployed you can ask the court to let you clean the highways, a park, or other court ordered project. The court has to give you alternate service to pay your fine. Ask at the time of sentencing because if you agree to pay a fine, and then can't. The court may deny you alternate service to pay off your fine. It's easier to ask for alternate service and then switch later to a fine. When you find employment.

The court will require a full repayment to your boss (the victim) for his/her losses. If you've already done that then there should be a requirement for you to appear in a Victim Witness Office in the court to give them the information to contact the victim, and determine if in fact you've repaid the victim. If there is a problem and the victim over inflates his/her losses, you can ask for a hearing to have the court determine the victim's true losses.

You will probably receive a 3 year informal probation term. It might be a little as 2 years. That's assuming you are a first time offender.

After you've completed your three years probation without violating it, you can come back into court and ask that your conviction be striken. Most people don't bother doing this.

Informal means you don't have to report to a probation officer. However, violating your probation by committing another crime while you're on probation can come back to haunt you, big time.

I doubt the D. A. will want jail time, but I've been wrong on this. If the D. A. does it will not be very much. And you can ask the sentencing judge for weekends. When you contact the sheriff about reporting to jail ask for their clean the park weekend program. Check with the sheriff about booking early for your jail sentence. There'll probably be a program by the sheriff to pre-book. When you pre-book early they'll give you directions and a reporting time to your park or other public place that you are to work. And when you do they'll tell you what cloths to wear. Be on time and say a lot of yes sirs.

Good luck.

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Answered on 2/12/01, 10:59 pm
Steven Mandell Law Offices of Steven R. Mandell

Re: What is the penalty for a first time offender of Grand Theft?

I disagree with a few things Victor Hobbs said. He talks about wobblers (alternative felony/misdemeanors), but thinks you'll be charged with petty theft. I disagree. If the total value of the notebooks was about $1100, then you'll probably be charged with grand theft. Petty theft only goes up to a value of $400. Grand theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the policies of the District Attorney's Office near where the crime was committed. What will happen to you as a result of the prosecution is largely unknown, and again, depends on the policies of the DA and the court in your area. You don't specify where that is. I recommend that you have a consultation with a criminal lawyer in your area. Most attorneys give these for free. In fact, if your case is in Los Angeles County, don't hesitate to call me for a free consultation. My telephone number is 310 393 0639. Good luck.

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Answered on 2/12/01, 11:31 pm

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