Theft Crimes

Murrieta – Temecula criminal defense attorney represents individuals charged with petty theft, grand theft, forgery, identity theft, receiving stolen property, and embezzlement. Contact Karen E. Lockhart at (951) 698-5191 for immediate help with your theft case. Consultations are available by telephone or in person. Weekends and evening appointments are also available. Consultations are always free and confidential.

Theft (Penal Code section 484-502) is the intentional and unlawful taking of property, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Under California law, the crimes of forgery, embezzlement, identity theft, receiving stolen property, and robbery are all considered theft crimes. California classifies theft offenses as misdemeanors or felonies, based to the value of the property taken.

Petty theft is the theft of property that has a value of $950 or less. Petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor, or an infraction, if the arrest results from shoplifting, is a first offense, and the value of the property is $950 or less.

Grand theft is the taking of property that has a value of $950. A misdemeanor theft offense can be charged as a felony offense if you have a prior theft related conviction.

Possession of Stolen Property (Penal Code section 496) occurs whenever you knowingly purchase, obtain, receive or possess any property that you know, or should know, is stolen, intending to keep it from the owner.

Embezzlement is a property theft. It occurs when someone who was entrusted to manage someone else’s money or property steals all or part of that money or property for the defendant’s personal gain.

Forgery prohibits making, altering, or offering as true any written document, knowing the document is not true and with the intent to defraud (trick or deceive). Documents include all financial and legal documents, such as checks, notes, money orders, contracts, bills, receipts, lottery tickets, leases, and powers of attorney.

Burglary is completed when a person enters an establishment with the intent to steal, or commit any felony. No taking is required!


A misdemeanor conviction for petty theft is punishable by six months in county jail, unless charges as an infraction, which is punishable by a fine of no more than $250.

The punishment for grand theft prosecuted as a misdemeanor is imprisonment for up to one year in the county jail. If charged as a felony it is punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

Embezzlement, forgery and burglary can be punished by county jail or state prison time.


Defenses can be claim of right (the property belongs to you), lack of intent, mistake or accident.

Theft Criminal Defense Representation

All theft crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude, otherwise known as crimes of dishonesty, and can extremely severe consequences. If you or a family member is charged with the crime of petty theft, grand theft, forgery, identity theft, receiving stolen property, burglary or embezzlement, in any court in Riverside County, immediately contact experienced theft defense attorney Karen E. Lockhart at 951-698-5191, located in Murrieta at the Murrieta - Temecula Border. Consultations are free, and always confidential.